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Short test : Toyota Aygo X : a breath of fresh air


More and more manufacturers abandon the A segment (city cars). However, Toyota is determined to stay… The Aygo renewal sees the Japanese manufacturer launching a mini SUV. This will appeal to a new clientele attracted by the body style but who do not need a bigger car.

The previous generation Aygo was a city car, developed along with the Peugeot 108 and Citroën C1. The collaboration with Stellantis ended on December 31, 2020. Now, the Czech plant in Kolin only produces Toyota Yaris X and Aygo X (pronounced ‘Cross’!), with engines and gearboxes coming from Poland. The Aygo X shares its TGNA GA-B platform with the Yaris Cross. It is intended for European markets only and is the first specific model developed by Toyota Motor Europe in Brussels… and the whole process was completed in just 34 months! It is the production version of the Aygo X Prologue prototype released in 2021.

A reduced number of competitors

Toyota is aiming this new model at rather young (or is it older ?) punters who do not want to invest much money in a vehicle but wanting to buy a new car nevertheless. No electric or even a hybrid engine are available on the Aygo X… Toyota justifies it by its laudable desire to maintain a balance between competitive prices and decent pollution levels.  Only a three-cylinder 1000cc petrol engine (72bhp and 93Nm of torque) is available. Toyota claims 4.7 l/100 km average fuel consumption and of 107 g/km CO2 emissions.

The Aygo X (pronounced “Cross”) is a compact city five door SUV. For more « Aygo-ness », styling recycles elements from the previous generation : rear lights shape and glass tailgate. This time, the glass part is attached to a metal frame.

Given the development costs induced by stringent ecological constraints and the A segment price positioning, the Japanese company believes such a choice is the best compromise for its customers. Moreover, competition in the A segment was reduced considerably in the last few  years.  The previous generation Aygo cousins (C1 and 108) weren’t replaced, just like the VW Up, Skoda Citigo, Opel Adam and Karl, Ford Ka… Toyota hopes to take advantage of the situation to increase its presence in the urban car segment. In Belgium, it still amounts to about 3.6% of registrations.

Ergonomics are well thought out and standard kit is pretty complete. With its 9″ screen, the Yaris X has all the makings of a bigger car… and for good reason, as it uses the Yaris platform.

Scaled- down Yaris

Compared to the previous generation Aygo, the new X is a bigger car : 235 mm longer, 65 mm higher and 125 mm wider, improving passenger comfort. The wheelbase has increased by 90mm, the ground clearance by 11mm and boot volume also increased, to 231 litres with the seat up or 829 litres when it’s down. In the end, it is only 72 mm shorter than the Yaris… The higher ground clearance and the 17 or 18 inch wheels reinforce the Aygo X SUV character.

The original styling is combined to excellent driving qualities… which makes the lack of power and torque even more crying !

Behind the wheel

We drove several Aygo Xs, both with manual and automatic transmissions. Let’s say it right away, the small engine must work hard… and gets louder when you want to use it. Behind the wheel, one starts to wonder where the turbo, the compressor or… the little electric motor is! On the small winding roads in the Barcelona area, overtaking requires planning and anticipation. However, let’s not forget that this is an Aygo, not a Yaris; meaning the cheaper car must also be less powerful. We can’t help thinking  twenty or so more hp and a few Nm would be welcome to the party. Especially that roadholding is good, even on poor surfaces.

Rear side windows with compass opening are another carried over feature from the previous generation. Due to the shape of the doors, it was impossible to fit winding windows. Rear space is not that big, though, and visibility is rather poor.

Steering is both precise and not too much high geared, the small turning circle (4.7m) being an asset in town. Driving it induces a real feel-good factor. Its suspension is well sorted and brakes more than up to their job. Enough to make you want a little more power and torque. Depending on the circumstances, the CVT seems more suitable than the manual gearbox. Its gearing allows the available torque to be used more efficiently. Equipment levels as well as fit and finish are very good, especially on top-of-the-range versions. We warmly recommend the version with the canvas sunroof.

The JBL sound system offers excellent sound quality. Just like the large canvas sunroof, it reinforces the car’s driving pleasure.

It’s very pleasant and easy to use, not being too noisy when fully open while bringing more light to the interior, even on grim days. Interior plastics are pretty hard, the seats are high and cushion is a bit short while lateral support could be better. Weaker points are side and rearward visibility, as well as space in the rear. Nevertheless, the Aygo X inspires confidence and makes you want to drive it. Its design remains pleasant and original, even if it might prove divisive. Its two-tone colours, Cardamon, Chilli, Ginger and Juniper, will make it stand out in the urban landscape. If a city car assets are compactness, agility, habitability and affordability  – for equipment levels worthy of an upper class, then the Aygo X fulfils its role well.

The Aygo X was developed by Toyota Motor Europe in Brussels. It is assembled in the Czech Republic with engines and gearboxes coming from Poland and was largely based on the Aygo X Prologue prototype.

A full range

Toyota offers no less than five versions of the Aygo X: the cheapest are the monochrome ‘X’ and ‘play’. The ‘pulse’, ‘envy’ and ‘limited’ are available in two  tone and prices range from €15,840 to €22,240 including VAT. Toyota also offers an ‘Easy’ package with a low deposit (€1530) and affordable monthly payments starting from €129.

The three-cylinder 1000 cm3 engine offers 72 hp and 93 Nm. Although the Yaris X is not too heavy, it is too often at pains to move it about swiflty. It’s better to avoid steep hills! Tick the S-CVT automatic gearbox rather than the manual one : it’s more relaxing and better suited to the engine.
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