Review: Toyota Aygo

An agile city car

16 Nov 15 Tim Barnes-Clay

Pros

  • Looks great

  • Very economical

  • Agile handling

Cons

  • Steering is not sharp

  • Boot and rear space is limited

  • Plastic interior looks cheap

Our expert rating

The Aygo is an agile city car first introduced in Europe in 2005. Both three and five-door versions are available, but the five door is the most popular on the secondhand market.

A newer version of the Aygo came out in 2014, receiving unique bodywork to help it stand out from the Citroën and the Peugeot.

Performance

The Aygo is at its best in the city, where its dimensions and sprightly engines make it ideal for whizzing through jam-packed streets. However, the Aygo doesn’t offer much in the way of acceleration away from urban environments, and falls behind its adversaries when it comes to out of town driving fun.

That said, weightless pedals require little effort so driving is easy, although the clutch and accelerator can be harder to balance when pulling away. The car is inexpensive to run, with the older petrols returning an average of 61.4mpg, and the rare diesel engine is even worthier – with an average of 68.9mpg.

Servicing will also cost you less than it will for many other city cars. In Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) car tax terms, emissions of under 100 g/km of CO2 for the 2014 Aygo mean it’s within the lowest A band. This means you pay nothing in road tax for a model from this year.

Dark grey Toyota Aygo

Ride and handling

The ride quality is decent for such a small motor and it handles reasonably well. In town it feels easy and light to move around, coping well with potholed surfaces, and the five-speed manual gear lever has a genial, well-weighted action to it.

The Toyota Aygo of old only had a three star safety rating, but as of 2014, Euro NCAP experts awarded the new version four out of five stars. The reason for the higher safety rating is down to the newer Aygo’s stiffer body shell and its front, side and curtain airbags.

The rear seat is equipped with two ISOFIX child seat mounting points, while back doors on five-door versions of the Aygo have child locks too. 

Toyota Aygo interior

Interior space

The front is fairly spacious but there is a lack of rear legroom for adults. Indeed, there are clear restrictions to the Aygo's suitability for family life. The boot, even though it was increased in 2014 to 168 litres, is too tiny to take all but small items of baby gear.

The low roofline above the rear seats makes knocking your head on the door frame all the more probable.

Certainly, the Toyota Aygo is only really feasible as a family car if you already have access to a second, larger, vehicle. Pre 2014, kit in the car was minimal, but later models have electric front windows with the rear ones hinging outwards rather than winding down on five-door Aygos.

All versions, except the entry level X, have air-conditioning. Seat fabrics are comfortable and pleasing, with part and full-leather also optionally available from new.

So, if you go for an 18 month old Aygo, look around for ones that have had these seats fitted. After all, leather is easier to wipe down.

Toyota Aygo boot

What to know before you buy

The Aygo is a generally reliable car but there are a few failings. The clutch can fail early due to oxidisation.

A recall to fix the problem on 2014 Aygos was issued, so if you’re going for a secondhand Aygo from last year, then the probability is this will have been sorted. However, you can double check online if the vehicle has been recalled.

The rear brakes can need replacing early, too. The most obvious indicator your brakes need changing is the squeaking that you hear when you press down on the pedal. This noise usually indicates that the brake pads have worn down. At this stage the repairs are not too pricey.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the Aygo underwent an earlier recall in 2010 due to sticking accelerator pedals, as part of a global issue with Toyota cars. This problem had such an impact on Toyota’s image that this will, in all likelihood have been fixed, but again, double check online, or with whoever you buy the car from.

Toyota Aygo and Volkswagen Up

Alternative cars

The Volkswagen Up is a major rival, due to its clever packaging. Basically, the VW is small on the outside and pretty big on the inside.

The Hyundai i10’s extra length will give your rear seat passengers more room, but it’s not as easy to park in tight spaces as the Aygo.

The Ford KA is also worth looking at. It’s good to drive and often heavily discounted because there are loads of them hanging around used car forecourts.

Finally, the Kia Picanto is a worthy adversary because it’s affordable and well equipped – and you can inherit the remainder of its seven year warranty.

Overall verdict

The Toyota Aygo is a great little car to buy and own, but the microscopic boot is the biggest shortcoming if you need to carry a pushchair around.

It’s a little lacking in rear passenger space and refinement, too, so newer rivals such as the above mentioned VW Up or Kia Picanto are better bets when it comes to practical motoring.

Expert rating

Performance

Reliability

Space & comfort

Running costs

Value for money

Overall