Toyota Aygo x-press

Toyota Aygo, side
Toyota Aygo, front
Toyota Aygo, front
Toyota Aygo, side
Toyota Aygo, rear
Toyota Aygo, interior
Toyota Aygo, boot
Toyota Aygo, rear
Toyota Aygo, interior

IF you want a city mini with the X factor look no further than the Toyota Aygo which is better looking than Leona Lewis with more star quality than Little Mix.

The upgraded second generation of the Japanese car giant's baby, revealed at last year's Geneva Motor Show, sports a facelift that takes the front-end ‘X' design to a new level with revamped headlights sporting built-in LED daytime running lamps to accentuate the shape.

The rear is also rebooted with the help of LED tail lights that now wrap around the hatchback which, together with the gloss-black 15-inch alloy wheels, give a youthful, modern and sophisticated feel.

The changes make the Aygo instantly recognisable and impossible to ignore.

All the names of the six-model line up start with an ‘x' - from the entry-level x car, to the mid-range x-play and the top-of-the-range x-clusiv - with the cheapest still costing less than £10,000.

Each Aygo grade offers individual characteristics - such as interior colour schemes and fabrics - to broaden its appeal and target different budgets.

The x-press car under the spotlight here is one of just 2,500 made available in the UK to mark the refresh of the second-generation Aygo.

All versions are five-door models with the x trim also available as a three-door with power provided by a peppy three-pot engine.

Connected to a smooth five-speed gearbox - a semi-automatic transmission is available on all but entry-level cars for an extra £700 - it provides what at first sight appears to be a modest power output and pedestrian 0-62mph time of just under 14 seconds.

However, the Aygo feels quicker with nippy acceleration allowing you to navigate the mean city streets with aplomb while it is also more than capable of cruising happily along the motorway with a reasonable level of refinement.

Fuel consumption from the 1.0-litre petrol unit is excellent with a claimed average figure of 68.9mpg equating to around 50 in the real world, while carbon dioxide emissions come in at 93g/km.

The steering is sharp and the handling agile making the Aygo a decent drive with nimble reflexes.

Climb into the cabin and the first thing you notice is the amount of room up front with a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and height-adjustable seat allowing a decent driving position to be attained, while those who like to bring drinks with them will be impressed with the number of cup and bottle holders on offer. There is a glove box to tuck valuables away from prying eyes but otherwise uncovered storage trays are the order of the day for your odds and sods.

Space is predictably more of a squeeze in the back given the Aygo's dinky dimensions with leg and head room for adults a touch tight. Giving someone a lift across town is fine but I wouldn't particularly want to spend a long journey in the back.

The rear windows don't follow the electric example for their brothers up front - or indeed of the powered door mirrors - and open off catches. They are also small adding to the slightly claustrophobic feel in the back.

The rear storage area is accessed via a glass bootlid and offers a snug 168 litres rising to 812 with the rear seats folded.

A pleasant atmosphere is maintained in the cabin thanks to automatic air conditioning which is operated via easy-to-use controls on the centre console.

The star of the show is a seven-inch display touchscreen and a Pioneer smartphone integration system that gives voice control to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A four-speaker audio system provides a decent outlet for your tunes. A DAB/AM/FM radio is also included as well as an aux-in socket.

Everything is logically laid out and easy to see and use with the speedometer home to a digital display in the centre giving trip information, while the rev counter is nattily positioned to one side.

Other neat features not to be sniffed at for one so small include a rear-view camera, gloss-black instrument panel and remote central locking. There are steering-wheel mounted controls allowing you to access most of the car's goodies without having to hunt around for a button or dial.

You look at city minis and sometimes wonder how on earth you would survive an accident but the Aygo allays those fears with front, side and curtain airbags included in case a crash does occur, as well as a host of electronic aids to keep you out of trouble in the first place.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Aygo x-press

Price:£12,630

Mechanical:71bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:99mph

0-62mph:13.8 seconds

Combined MPG:68.9

Insurance Group:8

C02 emissions:93g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty:5yrs/100,000 miles

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