Toyota Aygo


Debut: 2014
Maker: Toyota
Predecessor: Aygo Mk1 (2005)



 Published on 25 Mar 2014
All rights reserved. 


Last year, the best selling A-segment mini car in Europe was Fiat 500, with 160,000 copies sold, followed closely by Fiat Panda (152,400 units) and Volkswagen Up (129,800 units). With only 63,800 sales, Toyota Aygo seemed to be an understated player. However, if you add the sales of its sister cars Citroen C1 (56,800 units) and Peugeot 107 (55,200 units), you would find it to be actually a strong force in the segment, even though the car was already 9 years old! Yes, in the past 9 years the Toyota-led joint venture in Czech Republic built more than 2 million units of the trio. It is far more successful than you would believe.

The old Aygo was not a particularly cult, fun to drive or desirable car, but it was cheap, practical and reliable, like a downsized Corolla. There is nothing wrong because price has always been a big concern in A-segment. The second generation Aygo continues this strategy, but it tries to inject a bit more style. Toyota calls its styling theme J-Playful (J for Japan, of course). There is a big X-shape scar cut into its face, whose visual effect is comical. The scar is made of plastic stripes and colored to contrast to the body. Yes, I think only Japanese designers with their strange pop culture could be dare to put something so strange in production. Will this work in the European market? I would be interested to see...



Don’t think the Aygo is radical. On the contrary, its engineering is conservative. The basic platform is adapted from the old one, with close to 70 percent of its components carried over. That’s why it retains the 2340 mm wheelbase. There are some minor improvements though – the torsion-beam rear suspension is made stiffer together with the anti-roll bar. The springs and dampers are revised. The steering ratio gets a little quicker. The body shell is all new, of course. Its overall length has been extended a little while the windscreen is set at steeper angle. Extra spot weld points and more usage of high-strength steel increase its structural rigidity, while more insulation materials at the firewall cuts noise. The engine remains that long-serving 1.0-liter three-pot VVT-i which offers 69 horsepower. Inevitably, the car has gained a little bit weight, so it takes more than 13 seconds to go from zero to sixty. Top speed is just shy of 100 mph. Want more performance? Sorry, there is only one engine for the baby Toyota. If you want more, try its sister car Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108, which offer an additional PSA 1.2-liter three-cylinder with 82 hp.

With light controls and a tight turning circle, the Aygo is easy to drive. It is also a bit more refined in cruise and more responsive in corners than the old car. Nevertheless, it lacks the big-car refinement of the class-leading Volkswagen Up and Fiat Panda, as well as failing to match them in terms of handling. Its soft suspension leads to more pronounced roll. The skinny 165/65R14 tires run out of grip early and translate to understeer. The steering is quick enough but lacks feedback. It does not tempt you to drive fast. The small petrol engine also fails to spin as freely as Volkswagen’s 3-pot, or delivers the mid-range shove of Fiat’s Multijet diesel. Overall, the driving experience is uninspiring.



Inside, the Aygo offers enough space up front but not particularly spacious for rear passengers due to its short wheelbase (VW Up and Hyundai i10 are better in this respect). The build quality is disappointing, as shown by the cheap plastics and switchgears. The hinged rear windows are another sign of cost cutting. Toyota tries to lift the game with higher level of personalization (just like everybody else is doing these days). Some color plastic panels can be replaced, and there is option for a 7-inch touch screen. However, the interior styling is again questionable. With the presence of Up and Panda, and the new funky rear-drive Renault Twingo is just around the corner, this time Toyota Aygo is not easy to keep its market share.

Verdict: 
 Published on 14 Jul 2014 All rights reserved. 
Citroen C1


In the car manufacturing world few joint-ventures could be successful enough to guarantee the second generation. Toyota Aygo and the PSA duo of Citroen C1 / Peugeot 107 is one of the few examples. To the French maker, this was probably its wisest decision in Europe for the past decade. Without involving much the engineering side, it just invested in the production facility in Czech Republic to produce the trio. Somehow, such a small investment resulted in big return, selling 800,000 units of 107 and 760,000 units of C1 in the following 9 years, even more than Toyota.

Engineering of the second generation trio was again responsible by Toyota, but the French participated at earlier stage thus was able to differentiate styling to greater degree. In the case of Citroen C1, you can see hardly any traces of the Aygo – that must be great news if you are put off by the controversial Toyota. The baby Citroen is styled to look funky. A pair of big round eyes are topped with eyebrows, i.e. LED daytime running lights. Since the round body profile lacks character, Citroen decorates it with blackened A-pillars and tailgate, customizable B-pillar graphics, 3D-taillights and color-coded door mirrors. Nevertheless, the shared hard points with Toyota mean it is inevitably less special than what you would expect for a Citroen. The Volkswagen Up-style rectangular recess at the rear bumper adds further doubt to its originality.

French likes canvas top since the days of 2CV, so it is not a surprise to see the new C1 has added this feature. Unfortunately, it robs further space from the already tight rear headroom, making the rear seat accommodation meaningful to children only. In contrast to the exterior design, the interior is shared with Toyota, with the exception of minor finishing and customizable parts. It doesn’t look good enough to compete with Fiat 500, Panda or particularly Volkswagen Up. The plastics are hard and door panels are spartan. A few colorful panels and seat fabrics help little to raise our interest. As expected for the short rear overhang, the boot is small, even by the standard of A-segment.



As the underpinnings are shared with the Toyota, it shares the same pros and cons, too. The first you will notice compared with the last generation is enhanced refinement. Noise and intrusions from the engine compartment, tires and suspension have been reduced considerably, though canvas roof version is hampered by excessive wind noise. However, even in tin-top form the C1 (or just any of the trio) is not as refined as Panda, Up or Hyundai i10, because it sits on a reworked version of the old platform rather than a clean-sheet design. Its handling and ride are average, displaying loose body control and early understeer, but the recalibrated steering is more precise than before and the small car remains easy to maneuver in urban area. Its chassis won’t put smile in your face, but it won’t spoil the driving experience either.

The base C1 employs Toyota’s 69 hp 1.0-liter VVT-i three-cylinder motor, which struggles to keep up with European motorways and mountain roads. Fortunately, PSA also supplies its 1.2-liter Puretech DVVT three-cylinder engine to its own cars. With 82 hp and 87 lbft of torque on tap, it feels gustier, sweeter and calmer. This engine serves well on Peugeot 208, so on the 110 kg-lighter C1 its job is even easier. The only minor complaint is some vibration at idle, something could have been dealt with adequate engine mounting. The 5-speed manual gearbox has a notchy gearshift. Overall speaking, the Citroen C1 drives okay rather than memorable. Like its packaging, it does not stand out from the crowd. Unless the French firm gives it aggressive pricing, there is really no reason to choose it instead of the aforementioned rivals.
Verdict:
 Published on 14 Jul 2014 All rights reserved. 
Peugeot 108


It is fair to say Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 are the very same car in different clothes. They are built on the same underpinnings, share the same interior and assembled in the same Czech factory. You can say the same to Fiat 500 and Ford Ka, or to Volkswagen Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, but the Japanese-French joint-venture is more successful to differentiate their versions with styling. While the Aygo is as radical as Japanese cartoonists could imagine, Citroen penned its car like a cute little creature, and Peugeot deliberately styled the 108 more upmarket. Close inspection will find the French duo are almost identical in body shape, including the doors, side windows and tailgate, so to maximize cost sharing. This means their visual differences are more graphical than sculptural – the Peugeot employs a very formal chrome front grille, narrow headlights, trapezoidal foglight clusters and different taillight graphics. Its styling is the most conservative of them all.

Compared with the old 107, the 108 has many advances, in particular running refinement. However, the lightly adapted platform – with key dimensions carried over intact – does not allow a dramatic shift in ride and handling, nor the same old Toyota 1.0-liter three-pot motor shows any real improvement. Peugeot’s own 1.2-liter Puretech three saves the game, but like its Citroen sister an inadequate installation fails to mask its low-end vibration, unlike the same engine on 208. And the notchy 5-speed gearbox is not a class act. However, to city car buyers the most important is probably space and packaging. Here, the Peugeot is again a mixed bag. Both its boot and rear seat accommodation are small, whereas the interior’s build quality and styling are average. As a result, it is hard to gel with car lovers.


Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Aygo 1.0
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3455 / 1615 / 1460 mm
2340 mm
Inline-3
998 cc
DOHC 12 valves, VVT
-
-
69 hp
70 lbft
CVT
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
165/65R14
840 kg
99 mph (c)
13.5 (est)
-
Citroen C1 1.2
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3466 / 1615 / 1460 mm
2340 mm
Inline-3
1199 cc
DOHC 12 valves, DVVT
-
-
82 hp
87 lbft
5-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
165/60R15
865 kg
106 mph (c)
10.2 (c)
-
Peugeot 108 1.2
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3475 / 1615 / 1460 mm
2340 mm
Inline-3
1199 cc
DOHC 12 valves, DVVT
-
-
82 hp
87 lbft
5-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
165/60R15
865 kg
106 mph (c)
10.2 (c)
-




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Toyota Aygo


Citroen C1


Peugeot 108



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