Like a Staffie, with lipstick
Aygo has fresh-from-gym edges and a boot that can now take boots
WITH 74 000 Aygos sold worldwide last year, this small hatch has nothing left to prove, although Toyota South Africa may have to find another dog to advertise the new, deeply etched Aygo.
The first impression of the Aygo in its natural habitat — an underground parking lot — is one of a growling need for freedom, like a Staffie chained to its kennel.
The goofy smile of Buddy the friendly Boxer will simply not work alongside the Augo’s snarling X-nose.
Snip that Staffie’s chain with the turn of a key and the Aygo’s little three-cylinder engine will reward your ears with a happy growl, and your eyes with a colourful display on the large central speedometer behind the steering wheel.
The equally colourful touchscreen is really easy to use and links to any smartphone with a few presses.
The speedo surrounds a display that answers all your questions on fuel and temperature. On the left, an amber rev counter and on the right a couple of arrows tell you when to engage the next of the five gears. Second gear is long, to make the most of the one-litre’s respectable 51 kW and 95 Nm.
Thanks to Toyota’s clever variable valves, this power is available from low revs to send the hatch from zero to 100 km/h in under 15 seconds.
Fifth gear is only for touring, and if you keep the needle at 100 km/h on an open road, the Aygo will do well over 22 km per litre. Even in the combined city/highway test, Toyota recorded 4,4l per 100 km. This means the Aygo won’t shake your wallet on the long road.
But on our much-patched B-roads, the proven but cheap torsion beam that keeps the back wheels in place will slightly shake the 500 ml bottles that can fit in the four cup holders.
Around corners, the MacPherson suspension up front provides responsive steering, with predictable understeer in tighter turns and even a willingness to cock a back wheel at speed.
The Aygo’s new bucket seats are for younger hips and while the boot is 26 litre bigger at 168 litres to rival that of the VW UP!, the space can now take ankle boots, rather than thigh boots.
The Aygo is still imported from the Czech factory, which Toyota shares with Peugeot and Citroën. (Peugeot sells the Aygo chassis as the 108 and at Citroën it is called the C1). All use the Toyota engine, which is sold locally with a threeyear or 100 000 km warrantee and a “sort of” optional service plan.
“Sort of”, because Toyota hopes to sell 250 Aygos a month, and the first 1 000 buyers will get the optional service plan free.
Buyers can choose between three models, with only R1 000 difference between the entry-level Aygo 1.0 at R138 900 and the X-play Black and X-play Silver, which adds the two-tone roofline at R139 900.
With such a snarling mouth, Toyota will have to find another dog besides Buddy (below) to advertise the new Aygo.