Toyota thumbs its nose at volume brands who've abandoned the citycar segment and brings us one here, the Aygo X. But it's a city car with a bit more pavement presence than those you might be used to; in terms of the statement it'll make at the gym, it's a world away from the old Aygo. Plus it's economical, promises to be fun to drive and can even be had in semi-convertible form. Trendsetters should form an orderly queue.
In the motor industry, everyone's got their own perspective. Take city cars. Two of the industry's biggest players, the Volkswagen Group and Stellantis, say that segment is effectively dead. But Toyota, the world's biggest car maker disagrees, which is what's brought us this car, the Aygo X. It's pronounced 'Aygo Cross' by the way, like the Yaris Cross, Toyota's smallest SUV, the 'X' designating the fact that the Aygo has gone all 'crossover' on us. This, it seems, is the Japanese maker's strategy for justifying this model's continued existence. In its previous two incarnations, it was produced as part of a joint venture with Stellantis brands Peugeot and Citroen, whose 108 and C1 models were built alongside the Aygo at a jointly owned Czech factory. Following the dis-continuation of 108 and C1 production, Toyota decided to take full control of the plant, then redesigned the Aygo to take a shrunken version of the Yaris supermini's TNGA platform before starting production of the resulting Aygo X model at the Czech plant alongside the Yaris Cross. Now you're up to date.
You might have expected the switch of platform here to deliver a hybrid powertrain option - which apparently will fit but hasn't been included in the initial range because it would make the car too expensive. So Aygo X buyers are limited to a conventional familiar Toyota 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol unit producing 71bhp and 93Nm of torque. You do get a choice of transmission though, either a five-speed manual gearbox - or a CVT automatic for city dwellers. As you'd expect from those stats, performance is rather leisurely, 0-62mph in the manual model occupying 15.6 seconds; the CVT version will do it a tenth of a second faster, but it's less efficient. The manual model tops out at 98mph - for the auto version, its 94mph. Unlike the Yaris Cross, there's no all-wheel drive option - and you'd be very unwise to let the crossover styling tempt you into taking this car onto a rough road, despite the 11mm higher ride height. It does handle tarmac better than its predecessor though, thanks to its stiffer platform with its proven suspension set-up. Toyota says that this model's 72mm shorter front overhang in comparison to the Yaris will make for easy parking and reckons that this car is 'designed for the narrowest streets', suggesting that its 9.4m turning circle is one of the tightest on the market. The brand points out that visibility has been much improved by raising the seating by 55mm and making the A-pillars 10% steeper.
The Aygo X is based closely on the 'Prologue' concept car Toyota showcased early in 2021, which introduced many of the crossover cues implemented here. Most significant though, is this car's switch to a shrunken version of the brand's much more modern TNGA platform, borrowed from the Yaris. Shrunken maybe, but its use has meant a growth spurt for the Aygo model here. The Aygo X is 235mm longer than its predecessor, plus it's also 125mm wider and 50mm taller. Thick plastic wheel arch cladding emphasises the SUV-ness, as does an 11mm raise in ride height, a prominent front skid plate and colour-contrasted wheel arch surrounds. You can specify a fabric roll-top roof too. Inside, you'll really notice that jump in size because there's now 20mm more space between the front seats, along with 45mm more shoulder room for front occupants. The dash of course is much more modern than before with a 9.0-inch central infotainment screen and a digital climate panel, both things moving the car up-market. The wheelbase length increase of 90mm significantly improves legroom for rear seat occupants. And improves on the awfully small boot of the old car, this one's 231-litre capacity being 60-litres greater (and 50-litres more than a Fiat 500). Seats-down, the Aygo X offers 829-litres.
Prices are pitched a bit higher than the previous model as you would expect, from launch starting from just under £15,000, with the base 'Pure'-spec version costing £875 more than its predecessor in the previous range. There are two other specification options - 'Edge' and top 'Exclusive' trim. And from launch, there's also a special 'Limited Edition' variant. All versions come decently equipped, with 'Pure' trim including 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system with 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' connectivity and all the key features of 'Toyota Safety Sense' package. This gets you Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Sign Assist, Auto High Beam, Emergency Steering Assist and a Pre-Collision System with Cyclist and Pedestrian detection. If you can stretch to mid-range 'Edge' spec, costing around £16,500, you'll get a smarter look, with a 2-tone paint finish and a contrasting black roof. And of course more equipment. Embellishments include larger 18-inch alloy wheels, climate control, auto wipers, rear privacy glass, a bigger 8.0-inch centre touchscreen and front fog lights. The top 'Exclusive' variant will cost you around £18,000, but for that you get synthetic leather and cloth upholstery, LED headlights, keyless entry, parking sensors, a wireless phone charger and the biggest possible 9.0-inch HD touchscreen with cloud-based navigation and traffic data.
You'd want a car of this kind to be economical and sure enough, the Aygo X is capable of up to 60.1mpg on the combined cycle, while emitting 107g/km of CO2 - that's in manual form. The CVT auto version manages 57.6mpg and 110g/km. Toyota reckon that these efficiency figures are competitive with mild hybrid rivals and think that they're good enough to make unnecessary the introduction of an electrified version of this car. The key here, according to the brand, is to keep this model affordable. And provide a combustion vehicle small car option for urban folk who don't have access to charging points. All Aygo X models come with up to 10 years' Toyota Relax warranty cover. After an initial three years/60,000 miles, owners can extend their car's warranty by a further one year/10,000 miles each time they have their vehicle serviced at an authorised Toyota centre, in line with its service schedule. Plus, as standard, Aygo X buyers get five years of pan-European roadside breakdown assistance, a three year paint warranty and twelve years of anti-perforation cover. There's a dedicated 'My Toyota' website that allows you to book a service online and Toyota has a 'Fixed Price Servicing' plan, so you'll know in advance exactly how much any work will cost before you check into a dealer. You could also take advantage of the optional pre-paid 'Service Plan' that that dealer will offer at point of purchase, this enabling owners to cover the cost of routine maintenance with monthly or one-off payments in advance.
Toyota describes this as 'the first true urban crossover', a claim which will be controversial to thousands of owners of the various versions of Fiat's Panda Cross throughout Europe. But that's a very old design and this one offers a bit more visual pizzazz than the only other crossover option in the citycar segment, Kia's Picanto X-Line. We could see the Aygo X selling quite well and embarrassing other brands who've abandoned this sector. Not everyone who wants a really small car can afford a small EV and if you fit into that category, this funky little Toyota represents quite an appealing option. So the citycar segment isn't dead after all. It just needed a different approach.