Toyota Aygo 2021 Review: Is It One Of The Best City Cars?

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The Toyota Aygo is one of the few remaining city cars to still use a fuel-efficient, petrol engine. Its X-shaped face and funky, body-coloured interior trim makes it stand out from the crowd too. But does it have enough of everything else to be considered one of the best city cars?

 

Toyota Aygo 2021 highlights

 
  • New, sporty three-dimensional ‘X’ grille
  • Very frugal 1.0-litre petrol engine makes up the range
  • Toyota Safety Sense provides advanced safety features
  • Automatic and manual gearbox available
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity as standard
  • ‘X-Wave’ convertible model available
  • JBL Edition comes with premium sound system and subwoofer
  • Available to lease from less than £150pcm*
 

*Prices accurate at the time of writing

 

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Toyota Aygo 2021 design

 
The Toyota Aygo 2021 design has been refreshed in recent years
 

In 2018 Toyota refreshed its design for the second generation of the Toyota Aygo. One of the biggest additions was a three-dimensional version of the distinctive X-shaped front bumper, sleeker headlights and taillights.

The Japanese manufacturer’s cosmetic work has meant that every new Aygo is sportier than ever. Sportier, angular body lines give the car a much more premium appearance than its pricetag would suggest. If you look at mid-range X-Trend spec (pictured above), for example, you’ll get 15in alloy wheels that really uplift its appearance even further.

 
The Toyota Aygo JBL Edition is one of the flashiest models in the range
 

If you’re looking for the flashiest Aygo in the range, we recommend checking out the JBL Edition specification. Standing out from the rest of the models, this version comes with funky contrasting paint colours (‘Mandarin pop’ and ‘Electro Grey’) that make it a real head-turner. There’s even rear privacy glass so your passengers in the back can enjoy a quick zip around town without people seeing in.

Regardless of which trim level you choose, all Toyota Aygo models come with dinky dimensions that make it incredibly easy to drive. At less than 3.5 metres long and just over 1.6 metres wide, it’s 1.5 times shorter and nearly 1.4 metres slimmer than your average UK car parking space (2.4 metres wide and 4.8 metres long).

However, if you are worried about fitting your Aygo into a space, each trim comes with a reversing camera as standard (yes, we’re serious!)

 

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Toyota Aygo 2021 interior

 

Toyota carries on its theme of a fun, vibrant exterior throughout the interior. In particular, along the air vents and door sills there’s body-coloured trim which gives the cabin a youthful appearance.

 
The Toyota Aygo 2021 uses body colour trim to uplift the cabin
 

For an affordable city car you’ll be surprised at just how much equipment has been packed into it. Go for the X-Play trim or above and you’ll get a leather multifunction steering wheel that has volume and song/radio skip controls for the 7.0in infotainment system. Speaking of this system, it’s got very good graphics and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard, so you can use your favourite apps on the display.

DAB radio and Bluetooth are also standard on every Toyota Aygo, so you won’t be without the bare necessities.

 
The interior of the Toyota Aygo is an extension of the car's fun exterior design
 

Just like with the design of the Toyota Aygo JBL Edition, there’s a lot more to be had from this specification inside if you choose it. Namely, a booming JBL sound system with a 160mm subwoofer for crisper sounding audio.

 

Toyota Aygo 2021 engines

 

Where the Toyota Aygo keeps its appeal is when it comes to its engine. Rivals such as the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii have turned to fully electric engines as manufacturers increasingly try to cut emissions of their ranges in order to meet the government’s 2030 deadline banning sales of new petrol and diesel models.

However, the Aygo continues to feature a single 1.0-litre 72bhp petrol unit across the entire range. In terms of options this makes it incredibly easy when configurating your Aygo, although you can choose between a manual ‘VVT-I’ or automatic ‘VVT-I X-Shift’ gearbox. We recommend avoiding the latter as it genuinely makes the car feel slow (0-60mph takes 15.2 seconds in the automatic instead of 13.8 seconds in the manual).

 
Only one engine makes up the Toyota Aygo range - a one litre petrol unit
 

Unfortunately there isn’t a ‘hot hatch’ engine available in the Aygo like there is with the Volkswagen Up GTI, which would be our choice if you’re after a bit of vigour.

With that being said, as long as you don’t take the Toyota Aygo up incredibly steep hills (when you’ll really wish you had more horsepowers), then it feels pleasantly brisk at urban speeds. You’ll even be able to take it up to motorway speeds without too many issues.

Where the Aygo’s engine scores top points is in just how frugal it is. With a combined fuel economy of 57mpg (manual) or 54mpg (automatic), it’s incredibly cheap to run. Even insurance will be super low thanks to insurers placing it in group six thanks to its Toyota Safety Sense pack as standard.

 

Toyota Aygo 2021 practicality

 

It’s always difficult to criticise the practicality of a car that’s designed to be an urban runabout. The good news is that we’re surprisingly impressed with just how spacious Toyota has managed to make its smallest car in the range.

In the latest range of Aygo models there are only five door models available, which means you can easily fit a couple of adults in the back. There’s a good amount of legroom and shoulder room for average sized adults, though those over six foot may struggle in the back in this respect, and for headroom. We wouldn’t try and squeeze three back there, unless you’re just nipping to the shops then it won’t be too much of an issue.

 
The Toyota Aygo has a suprising amount of practicality, especially when you choose five door models
 

How about the Aygo’s boot? Well, at 168 litres there’s not a great deal of room – even by city car standards. You’ll get more in the Volkswagen Up and Kia Picanto, but it’s still enough to fit a couple of carry-on suitcases.

 
The Toyota Aygo 2021 has a 168-litre boot which is respectable by class standards
 

Toyota Aygo 2021 driving and safety

 

Just like the Toyota Aygo’s styling, getting behind the wheel is a genuinely fun experience, especially in urban settings. Steering is nice and light, while the three-cylinder 72bhp engine does well to feel brisk off the mark.

 
Just like its styling, the Toyota Aygo is fun and agile to drive
 

What’s most rewarding about the Aygo is the number of advanced safety systems it has onboard. A lane departure warning system provides audible alerts if you cross over into the adjacent lane. Another handy feature is emergency brake assist which will fully apply the brakes on your behalf of an impending collision is sensed.

Though we did advise avoiding hills in the Aygo earlier, there is (ironically) a hill start assist function. This works by automatically depressing the brake pedal for you when your handbrake isn’t on, allowing you to set off without rolling back if you’re on an incline.

Rocking up at the supermarkets in the Toyota Aygo is a fun exercise, simply because of its lunchbox-on-wheels dimensions. Turning in and out of tight spaces is a piece of cake thanks to its brilliant 10.2-metre turning circle. You can even take on reverse parking with the utmost confidence, because once you select reverse gear the reversing camera is activated with guidelines helping you steer the car into a space easily.

 

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