Like a Staffie, with lip­stick

Aygo has fresh-from-gym edges and a boot that can now take boots

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN • al­wyn.viljoen@wit­ness.co.za

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.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

With such a snarling mouth, Toy­ota will have to find another dog be­sides Buddy (be­low) to ad­ver­tise the new Aygo.

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