Toyota Aygo X-Style

1.0 VVT-i

Toyota Aygo, front static
Toyota Aygo, rear static 2
Toyota Aygo, side action
Toyota Aygo, rear static
Toyota Aygo, dashboard
Toyota Aygo, boot
Toyota Aygo, boot 2
Toyota Aygo, front seat
Toyota Aygo, rear seats

THERE'S an easy way to make Toyota Aygo feel faster - but you might get hot under the collar in the process.

Switch off the air conditioning and you feel its diminutive engine breaking free from the task of keeping you cool and diverting more power to making you go (a bit) faster.

For this chirpy little hatchback may look the stylish business and is actually a nippy and engaging machine around town but a busy main road is not its natural hunting ground.

That's when every extra bit of puff comes in handy. Decide to forsake coolness and dismiss the air con and you might find yourself hanging on to a higher gear up a modest incline - it makes that much of a difference.

This pert runaround could certainly enjoy more performance - a similarly sized engine in a Ford Fiesta, for instance, produces an easy 80 horsepower to the Toyota's 69 and feels a whole lot livelier for it.

Not that many people complain, with the Aygo and near identical versions sold by Citroen and Peugeot (and all built by Toyota in the Czech Republic) selling strongly to people who need something smart but inexpensive to get around town.

The Aygo starts at £9,255 for a three-door manual version and rounds out with a better equipped limited edition five-door with an automatic gearbox for a heady £14,895 - but they all use the same 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol engine.

All also share a cabin that disguises its modest price and hard plastics with a dash of style - or a stylish dashboard, featuring an easily read touchscreen for functions like the radio and (£400 option) satellite navigation.

A pity then that the actual speedometer, deeply cowled and lightly marked is hard to read at the best of times and impossible when you don your sunglasses in air con-worthy weather.

It's a short car, so you can hardly complain at a lack of space in the rear, where youngsters will be more comfortable that lanky legged grown ups - who won't be impressed by windows that don't wind down but simply fold out a bit. Up front, there is electrical assistance and all is fine.

The small boot (actually a bit bigger than the previous Aygo) will quickly convert to a space worthy of the weekend shop by flipping down one or both parts of the rear seat. It's reached via an all-glass hatch and push button that will give your thumb a gym-like workout.

Out of town (and downhill for best effect) the Aygo becomes a hoot to drive, with light and positive steering and an eagerness to do a driver's bidding on bends that will make you wish for a bit more poke. The car showed 52mpg over more than 500 miles.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Aygo X-Style 1.0 VVT-i

Price: £12,055

Mechanical: 69 bhp, 998cc, 3-cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-spd manual gearbox

Max Speed: 99 mph

0-62mph: 14.2 secs

Combined MPG: 68.9

Insurance Group: 6

C02 emissions: 95 g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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