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Go fun yourself. That was the multi-million pound advertising slogan behind the new Toyota Aygo when it was launched in 2014. It turned heads across the country, emphasising the cheeky yet highly personable nature of Toyota’s city car, and helped to set the Aygo apart from its near-identical siblings, the Citroën C1 and Peugeot 108. It proved successful, too; in 2017, the Aygo was the second best-selling Toyota in the UK behind the Yaris. And now it’s been treated to a mid-life facelift, with the aim of better squaring up to our reigning city car champion, the Kia Picanto.
So, what’s changed? For starters, there’s a modest increase in power for the sole three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine on offer. And ‘modest’ really is the word, because the increase is just 2bhp, meaning a total of 71bhp is available. The suspension set-up has also been revised in an effort to improve on the previously jittery ride.
2018 Toyota Aygo on the road
Despite the power increase, the engine still feels decidedly sluggish, even around town. Indeed, to get any sense of urgency, you need to keep the revs high, and that means plenty of changes up and down from the standard five-speed manual gearbox, which fortunately offers smooth shifts. Getting up to motorway speeds feels strenuous, and once you’re there, the combination of wind, road and engine noise makes for a noisy time.
At least the car is pretty economical; a few days driving over a variety of roads had us returning almost 48mpg.
The previous Aygo wasn’t especially comfortable over the kind of rutted and broken surfaces you’re likely to find around town, and while this facelift hasn’t completely fixed that, it is better, the car feeling a little more settled on bumpy roads. Driving over a pothole or speed bump still sends a smaller judder through the car, though, and the Hyundai i10 or Skoda Citigo are far more comfortable.
The steering, meanwhile, is nicely weighted – it’s light enough to make parking easy but gains some heft at faster speeds – and it’s easy to place the Aygo where you want it on the road.
2018 Toyota Aygo interior
If there’s one area where city cars need to be cleverer than most, it’s with space, and the Aygo is a mixed bag. Tall rear seat passengers will need to duck to prevent their head from pressing against the roof, although up front, only the burliest of drivers will find themselves rubbing shoulders with their passenger.
The boot is small, even by the standards of this class, but it can still swallow a weekly shopping trip or a couple of carry-on suitcases.
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