GOING FOR AN AYGO (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 80
The second generation version of Toyota's Aygo citycar launched in 2014 proved to be a little more efficient, a little more hi-tech and a little more fun to drive than its predecessor. Plus it offered a whole host of personalisation options. This was - and is - in the brand's own words, 'a car you could be proud of'. It certainly has a lot more of its own identity in MK2 guise. Let's check it out as a used buy.
Modelsword count: 4
3/5dr Hatch (1.0 petrol])
Historyword count: 242
So, what makes a car feel 'fun'? Sprightly handling? Cheeky looks? Clever marketing? And can an urban runabout really qualify for purchase on those grounds? With this model, the second generation Toyota Aygo, we were told that it could. You might think you know this car but if you haven't tried this MK2 version, launched here in the Summer of 2014, then you probably don't. Yes, it shares many of its mechanicals with the original design. No, it's not the same. Let's start with the fundamental thing that wasn't changed here. As before, this design was produced as part of a joint Toyota/PSA Group venture that also brought us French alternatives sharing most of this car's important bits - namely Peugeot's 108 and Citroen's C1. That was also the case with the first generation Aygo, but that car didn't make much attempt to differentiate itself. This one proved to be very different. It wasn't only the look that was unique but also the very specific way that original buyers could personalise it to suit almost any kind of taste or preference. On top of that, no other competitor from this era (2014-2017) is more efficient, safer or more laden with technology. That ought to be enough for starters. Let's see what else this MK2 Aygo has to offer the used car buyer. We'll focus here on the original; version of this car which sold until mid-2018, when a facelifted model was announced.
What You Getword count: 1324
'Go fun yourself'. We're not going to tell you what we think of that particular marketing slogan but it does accurately sum up the 'out-on-a-limb' 'love-it-or-hate-it' approach that Toyota took in marketing this car. It simply had to be different, not only because the citycar segment was - and still is - over-stuffed with talented opposition but also because this model (like its predecessor) had to share so much under the skin with its design stablemates, Peugeot's 108 and Citroen's C1. The three cars roll out of the same Czech factory, riding on the same common platform, using the same 1.0-litre petrol engine and sharing many interior fittings. That didn't leave Aygo Chief Engineer David Terai much scope for his product to have an individual appeal - except when it came to exterior style, so when it came to styling this second generation model, he and his team grasped that opportunity to do what they could to be different with both hands. Compare this car against its French counterparts and you'll find that aside from the rear passenger door and the angle of the windscreen, not a single body panel is the same. Terai and his team set out to create something very different from the inoffensive first generation version of this model, noting that in a crowded marketplace, it was better to have a design that half the potential customers would love rather than one that nobody would object to at all. So this one was created as standard with a hefty dose of attitude. Just look at the front end, apparently inspired by the car in the Japanese cartoon 'Astroboy'. It's supposed to be a manifestation of the Japanese youth culture 'J-playful' design philosophy that the brand wants all its small cars to have and is key to the appeal of this model because it leads directly to the theme that Toyota hoped would give this MK2 Aygo a real lift: namely customisation. This car was designed so that as many parts as possible could be snapped off and replaced with different colour bits. The X-graphic that dominates the grille section is normally black, but with paler colours could be specified in lighter shades for a contrasting look that extends right back to the door mirrors. The customisation options didn't end there either. The rear bumper insert, the front bumper and of course the alloy wheels could all be colour-matched by original buyers to suit their preferences, with the different panels exchangeable by dealers within minutes. As a result, Aygo folk could refresh the look of their cars cheaply and easily, possibly even exchanging colours with another owner at little or no cost. Talking of a contrasting look, the designers even went to the trouble of giving this car its own unique so-called 'double-bubble' roof, a feature that extrovert original owners could highlight with coloured decals. That roof was designed to accommodate the retractable fabric folding top that you'll find fitted to some high-spec models and was lowered slightly in comparison to the previous generation design, with the front A-pillar moved slightly forwards to create a balanced yet energetically forward-leaning posture. You see that in profile too, with a boldly sloping beltline that flows back into a neat pair of forward-angled rear light clusters, though the exact look and feel differs between the three-door variant and the five-door model that extends its window graphic into the tail lamps, giving an impression of extra length. At the rear with its integrated roof spoiler, the idea was to mirror the frontal design statement, but what's far more obvious is that this second generation Aygo carried over its predecessor's signature design element, a glass rear hatch that replaces a conventional tailgate. From a production point of view, this doubtless reduces the cost of manufacturing but from an ownership perspective, it's a feature we've never liked. Unlike a proper lifting rear hatch, this opening glass panel doesn't cut into the bumper, so there's quite a high lip over which you've to lift in your shopping. The VW up! (along with its Skoda and SEAT stablemates) suffers from the same thing for the same reason. Still, on the positive side, once you have got your packages in place, there's significantly more space than the first generation version of this car could offer, total cargo capacity having risen from 139 to 168-litres - enough for a couple of suitcases or a set of golf clubs. Granted, that's no great shakes given that rival Volkswagen, Skoda and SEAT models, like Hyundai's i10, can offer over 250-litres. Still, it's also true that in cars like this one, the rear bench is rarely used and so can be pushed down, in this case to reveal over 750-litres of space, so we're guessing that lack of luggage room will rarely be an issue for most owners. After all, if you need a greater capacity than that for your weekly shop, it might well be time to change your lifestyle rather than your car. If you are using the back seat, then you won't be expecting it to be very spacious, given that this car is just 3.4-metres in length and has a wheelbase unchanged over that of the diminutive original version. In fact, due to a bit of design cleverness, Toyota actually managed to free up an extra 9mm of legroom in the back. It's still not enough to make longer journeys comfortable for taller adults, but more ordinary folk will survive without too much grousing on short to medium-length trips. You might even think of cramming three kids on this bench, were it not for the fact that, rather annoyingly, there are still only two belts provided. If you do have kids, then we'd definitely go for the five-door model. Up front, it's reasonably easy to get comfortable, provided you've avoided an entry-level variant without seat height adjustment, something that's important to have because the steering wheel adjusts only up and down, not in and out. Ahead of you, there's a trapezoidal centre console that sets the theme for the cabin, its shape mirrored by the air vents, door trims and gear shift surround. The bar-graph rev counter stuck to the side of the speedo pod looks a bit odd but the wide dashboard's nice, trimmed in a cool matt finish and framed by refreshingly slim A-pillars that aid visibility. No, the quality of the trim isn't quite up to the kind of thing you'd find in, say, a Volkswagen up!, but the design is more interesting, which takes you mind off the fact. As with the exterior, personalisation rules, which is why the instrument panel, the centre console, the air vents, the gearshift knob and the gear lever surround could all easily be changed by original buyers to a colour of their choosing, even after years of ownership. On a more practical note, there are two cupholders, a good-sized glovebox and doorbins big enough to hold a 500ml bottle of water. There's a bit of hi-tech here too, for provided you've avoided one of the entry-level models, a 7-inch x-touch infotainment colour touchscreen is provided to dominate the centre of the dash. This system really adds another dimension to the Aygo and to be honest, we'd hesitate to buy one without it. It's operated using a fully integrated seven-inch touchscreen and was the first system in its segment to come with a rear view camera as standard. Functionality is via a straightforward main menu that gives easy control of the DAB audio system, vehicle and journey information and phone connectivity that includes the sending and receiving of texts. There's also a clever so-called 'MirrorLink' function that duplicates the home screen of your 'phone onto the display for easier acclimatisation. Some original buyers also paid extra to add an 'x-nav' plug-in into the system. This feature was unique to the Aygo and sits in a dedicated storage pocket in the glovebox.
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Category: Small Runabouts
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