the Saatchi & Saatchi global advertising agency’s risqué Pan-European marketing strapline for the all new Aygo city car which arrives in UK dealerships from 1 July.
The invitation reflects the added ingredient of ‘fun’ rather than the past small car functionality the first generation Aygo brought to the city car sector when it was launched in 2005. Then there were nine competitor models in the city car sector, now there are 20 so business is far more competitive.
As with the first generation Aygo, the latest models are built at a joint venture plant in the Czech Republic where the Toyota Aygo is built alongside the soon to be launched Peugeot and Citroen versions of their new city car.
Chris Hayes, marketing director of Toyota GB said at the European press launch the new Aygo’s main objectives is to attract young, urban-based customers and to bring more emotion and a greater sense of playfulness to the Toyota brand.
However he did add that the Aygo in it three and five door body forms has a UK customer base aged of 50 year olds and over but it has the highest conquest rate for bringing in new customers to the brand, apart from their GT86 sports car.
He added, “In 2010 we sold 13,680 Aygos in the UK, this went up to 16,539 in 2013, this year we will see sales grow to about 19,000 units and next year we are planning to sell 24,000 units of which 90 to 95% will be the five door versions and 20% of UK customers will go for the automated manual transmission option. Traditionally 90% of Aygo UK sales go to retail customers.
UK prices start at £8,595 and rise to £12,395 but as a launch offer the base x grade versions are offered with a £600 cost saving so the introductory headline price is £7,995. A free one year insurance offer is also available on all versions except the base x grade for buyers aged 21 years and over.
Apart from the ‘fun’ element, affordability is a key issue in most small car market sectors with UK buyers tending to hang on to their money and opt to acquire a new car by using PCP (personal Contract Purchase) monthly repayment schemes. Toyota GB has this covered for the new Aygo with rates, depending on the model, ranging from £89 to £119 per month for a three-year contract with a 25 to 30% deposit.
“The many and varied extra cost options and design packs can be added to the PCP monthly charges from as little as £5 per month” said Chris Hayes. He added, “We don’t quite know what the uptake will be for the wide range of interchangeable customisation options. We think it might be 20% but it could easily be double and we can comfortably cope with the demand and its many variations as these changes are made to the vehicles at Toyota’s UK Burnaston factory.
All new Aygo models are powered by an updated version of the previous 998cc, 3-cylinder, 69bhp petrol engine offering 68.9mpg in the Combined Cycle with CO2 emissions of 95g/km. There is the choice of a 5-speed manual gearbox or the x-shift automated manual unit.
There are three core design and specification grades, x, x-play and the best selling x-pression plus two special editions, x-cite and x-clusiv. They are aimed at offering customers of any age, or with wide ranging budgets, the choice from the simplicity of the entry-level model through to the well equipped and vibrantly styled top-of-the-range versions.
The colour choices ramp up new Aygo’s fun factor, with five options: White Flash, Silver Splash, Electro Grey, Deep Blue Buzz and Red Pop. In addition, the x-cite will be offered only in Orange Twist and the x-clusiv in Bold Black.
Up to 10 customisation packs for the outside and interior of the car are likely to be key to Aygo’s success in a rapidly expanding cost conscious fun-loving youthful sector and Toyota has kept the prices low to attract younger buyers.
The OUTstand pack (£395) lets owners transform the exterior with three elements – the front x, A-pillar x-tension and rear bumper insert in a choice of three colours. The OUTburst pack (£245) comprises a front bumper decal, side sills and rear diffuser decal, available in red or chrome.
The cabin can be transformed with the INspire pack (£165) with surrounds for the air vents and gear shift to match any exterior colour; other interior components have a piano black finish. The mood heightens further with INtense (£165), which introduces body colour-matched instrument panel, centre console and gear surround. Owners can also have the double-bubble roof of their Aygo covered in a contrasting coloured decal (£195), and can ramp up the street style with optional five-spoke alloys (£499) in silver, glossy black, machined glossy black and white. A twin-spoke alloy (£499) can also be specified in the same finishes, plus a customised centre cap and outer ring in any of six body colours.
The best selling x-pression version sees the new x-touch multimedia system fitted as standard with its MirrorLink function for smart connection of mobile phones. New Aygo is claimed to be the first car in its sector to be offered with a rear view camera and there is an optional x-nav pack costing £350 available.
The most popular x-pression version spec includes 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, part leather sports style seats, glossy black centre console DAB radio, rear view camera in addition to 50/50 split folding rear seats, electric windows and door mirrors and air-con.
The most x-citing thing about the new Aygo is its striking styling. Gone is dull and boring functionality and in has come a very attractive eye catching sportier looking shape. The most adventurous element is the X-shaped front end which really makes the car look distinctive. At the rear the pillar rear light cluster and deep tailgate are sharp looking. In between there is a rising waist-line which emphasises sportiness together with the chunky design which includes sharp styling creases. The body is lighter than the outgoing version thanks to the use of lightweight steel and more welding points has made the bodyshell torsionally stiffer. Toyota says this allows the revised suspension settings to provide a more consistent performance in terms of ride comfort and handling.
Certainly on our pre-launch media test drive in The Netherlands the copious amounts of traffic calming speed humps were easily and comfortably managed by the new model. The handling appears sharp, the steering light, the car nimble all the most needed requirements that a city car should offer day in and day out but with the added capability to cope with the occasional longer journey including motorway travel. We will have to wait and see how the new Aygo copes with the much tougher potholed roads in the UK.
Not so impressive however is the engine’s performance. For driving in towns and cities it will be fine, for cruising on the open roads it is ‘gruff’, tiresome and lacks zip in its response. The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol unit uses variable valve technology but unfortunately unlike many of its new competitor low capacity petrol engines no turbocharger is fitted. The power has been slightly increased to 69bhp, torque is just 95Nm (70lb ft) and that is at a relatively high 4,300rpm so it lacks low-down engine response. Top speed is a modest 99mph and the zero to 62mph acceleration time is 14.2 seconds for the manual and a very slow 15.5 seconds for the semi-auto.
Whilst the new Aygo exudes fun and a sporty image in its design the engine does not. It is all about functionality and it desperately needs a modern turbo petrol unit to keep up with the likes of Ford’s 1.0-litre, triple cylinder EcoBoost unit which is smooth, responsive, quiet and fast.
Exhaust gas recirculation has been added to the Aygo unit to help reduce CO2 emissions to 95g/km for the manual version and 97g/km for the automated gearbox. In both cases VED road tax is zero cost every year. As for fuel economy, the manual version officially returns 68.9mpg in the Combined Cycle, the semi-auto 67.3mpg. On test on the flat, smooth and winding country roads in Holland the test drive consumption was 51.6mpg for the manual and 48.4mpg for the semi-auto.
There is a lot to commend the new Toyota Aygo in terms of its very likeable new styling theme, the price, the specification and the wide range of options and customisation. It is just dull to drive but as the Toyota Marketing theme says ‘Go Fun Yourself’ and see what I mean.
MILESTONES. New Toyota Aygo 1.0-litre, manual, 5-Door x-pression. (Likely best selling UK model). Price: £11,395. Engine/transmission: 1.0-litre VVT-I, three-cylinder, petrol normally aspirated with exhaust gas recirculation, 69bhp, 70lb ft of torque at 4,300rpm, 5-speed manual. Performance: 99mph, 0-62mph 14.2 seconds, 68.9mpg Combined Cycle (51.6mpg on test), CO2 95g/km, VED road tax £0. Insurance: Likely to be Group 3 but free first year for 21+ year olds. Warranty; 5-years/100,000 miles. For: Sharp and eyecatching youthful styling, low cost finance options, free first year insurance on most models for 21+ year old drivers, loads of options and customisation items, low running costs and no road tax, comfortable ride, sharp handling. Against: Lack-lustre noisy engine, fun to look at but not so much fun to drive. Miles better news agency