Playtime is over Toyota’s spunky city hatch receives a makeover aimed at enlarging its market share.
While the facelift of Toyota’s little hatch involves more than a mere visual upgrade, the styling changes are fairly substantial and include larger projection headlamps (with LED daytime-running lights), a stronger X-motif up front, a more prominent front air dam and a new rear-bumper arrangement. Under the skin, important additions include hill-assist control (allowing drivers to safely pull away on an incline) and, more crucially, vehicle-stability control. As before, ABS with brake assist comes standard, along with four airbags on this model (and six for the flagship X-Cite).
Minor modifications to the engine have resulted in an increase of 2 kW for a new peak of 53 kW, while torque has fallen two units to a maximum of 93 N.m.
The result is a small improvement in the claimed 0-100 km/h time, with the suggested fuel consumption figure also dipping slightly to 4,3 L/100 km.
As before, the touch screen based infotainment system offers USB and aux-in ports, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. Our launch unit featured a two-tone body colour (red and black) and is called the X-Play Black. The top-of-the-range model is badged as the X-Cite and features a retractable soft-top roof. There’s no denying you’re climbing behind the wheel of a city car when you lower yourself into the Aygo. Still, the single-piece cloth seats are quite comfortable, while headroom is surprisingly ample despite my 1,87-metre frame.
Turn the key and the small 1,0-litre, three-cylinder unit quickly settles into a relatively quiet idle. You need to remember a naturally aspirated engine’s performance drops by roughly 17% on the Reef. Even so, in town the engine’s performance is sufficient, even with two relatively heavy people on board. And, since the Aygo occupies such a small patch of tarmac, it’s perfect for manoeuvring through gaps in traffic or threading through claustrophobic multi-storey car parks
On the highway, though, it’s a somewhat different story. The gearing is fairly tall so, at three-figure speeds, the driver often needs to shift to third to keep up with traffic. The ride remains comfortable, however, but adults will feel cramped in the rear seats (although these criticisms apply to nearly all city cars). Its fresh face and the handful of under-the-skin updates certainly render the Aygo more appealing than before. That said, the updated Aygo has its work cut out luring potential buyers from a number of strong alternatives at the price, chief among them the impressive new Suzuki Swift tested last month.
FAST FACTS Toyota Aygo X-Play Black
Engine: 1,0-litre, 3-cyl, petrol
Trans: 5-spd manual
Power: 53 kW
Torque: 93 N.m
0-100 km/h: 13,8 sec
Top speed: 160 km/h
CO2: 97 g/km
Fuel cons: 4,3 L/100 km
Pros: easy to drive; specification level
Con: engine a little breathless
We are drive here BY: Wilhelm Lutjeharms