A bit of simplicity is sometimes a good thing, don’t you think? Particularly in the motoring world, it can feel like we’re a little overburdened with systems, technology and intricate features. So to have a car that has a slightly more back-to-basics approach isn’t a bad thing whatsoever.
That’s where the Toyota Aygo X comes in. Flying in the face of the current surge in demand for SUVs, the little Aygo X arrives as a compact, simple and eco-focused city car. We’ve been behind the wheel to find out what it’s like.
You’ll probably remember the original Aygo. It shared a platform with the Peugeot 108 and Citroen’s C1, with economies of scale making this jointly-developed car a particularly appealing option for those who were after something brand new that wouldn’t break the bank. Needless to say, it was something of a hit.
But Toyota is going it alone with the Aygo X. You’ll find no Peugeot or Citroen stablemates for the Aygo X as a result. But Toyota has imbued the Aygo X with some of that crossover-style chunkiness that is so popular at the moment, giving it an 11mm bump in ride height over the older car alongside a variety of funky styling touches.
It’s odd to see a compact car launched these days without any form of electrification, but that’s just the case with the Aygo X. In fact, there’s a small 1.0-litre engine under the bonnet without any form of turbocharging, resulting in a rather modest output of 71bhp and a 0-60mph time of 14.7 seconds. Two gearboxes are available – a five-speed manual and a CVT automatic – and despite the Aygo X’s rugged design, it’s only available in front-wheel-drive.
Toyota says you should see up to 58.85mpg combined, while CO2 emissions stand at between 109 and 110g/km depending on which wheel size is fitted. Remember, these figures are harmed in the switch to the CVT gearbox, so if efficiency is your game then the five-speed manual is the one to go for.
It’s a refreshingly simple car to drive, the Aygo X. The controls are light and though the fearsomely sharp clutch does take a little getting used to, it’s a classic ‘small car’ setup. The steering is equally featherweight and it makes around-town driving a breeze. That slight jump in ride height means you get an elevated view of the road ahead, too, compared with the older Aygo.
But that lack of outright punch does mean that the Aygo X needs working hard in order for any real momentum to be gained. Getting up to motorway speeds is a proper chore while maintaining 70mph results in the Aygo X buzzing away at considerable revs. A highway cruiser this is definitely not; it can do those longer journeys but feels far more comfortable at lower speeds.
The Aygo X is a charming-looking thing. Though the standout colour is the off-road-influenced ‘Cardamon Green’, the dark blue shade that our test car was finished in also looked good while the chunky wheel arch extensions do give this little car a bit of presence.
It’s still properly dinky, mind you, but the combination of a surprising amount of glass and gloss black plastics means that the Aygo X feels a good deal upmarket than a car of this type and size would usually feel.
There’s only so much space you can squeeze out of a car this small and that’s noticeable inside the cabin. The rear seats are very tight indeed, with barely any head or legroom there for average-sized adult passengers. It’s also quite dark inside – though this could be remedied by opting for the retractable soft-top version.
That said, boot space is verging on respectable with 269 litres available when loaded to the roof. The real bonus comes in the folding rear seats, which boosts this right up to 829 litres. With that option, you can get some decent-sized luggage in the back of the Aygo X – though, of course, you won’t be able to take rear-seat passengers. Models with the optional JBL sound system do suffer from less load space, however.
Prices for the Aygo X start from £15,405, which is actually quite punchy for a car of this size, type and power. For that price, you could opt Hyundai’s i10, which brings a more flexible four-cylinder 1.2-litre engine, while an i10 model powered by a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre – similar to that in the Aygo – undercuts the Toyota by a considerable margin on price.
That said, standard equipment levels for the Aygo X are good, with all cars coming with a seven-inch infotainment system as standard while the inclusion of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a real bonus. Manual air conditioning is included too, as are 16-inch alloy wheels.
Like so many compact cars, the Aygo X’s appeal lies in its character. This isn’t a quick car, nor a spacious one, but its back-to-basics approach is like cracking a window ajar in a stuffy room. It’ll be cheap to run, too, while insurance costs won’t be outlandish either.
It’s just unravelled by its price. Opt for a top-spec version and this is a little three-cylinder car that could nudge over £19,000 and at that price, it’s hard to see how it could justify it. Much like the Aygo X itself, if you’re planning on opting for one then keep things simple. This isn’t a car that needs to be dressed up – so go for an entry-level version and keep that price down.
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