DRIVEN: Toyota Aygo
Last weekend I got the chance to road test, and review, the Toyota Aygo in sunny Johannesburg. Let’s get the nitty-gritty figures, and information, out the way and then I can get into my thoughts about the small hatch.
159 000 of your hard-earned South African Rands would be needed to get yourself the 1 litre, three cylinder, 5-speed manual Aygo. Air-conditioning comes standard along with a Bluetooth, USB Port and AUX input on a (great) on-board computer radio system. You also get four speaker stereo system which is more than decent.
The small, one litre, engine packs quite the punch. It is perfect for inner city drivers which offers a firm – but comfortable – ride. To be honest, in the city, at low speeds, it performs almost as well as a 1.2 or 1.4 litre engine. Between the speeds of 45-100 km/h it would definitely compete with the bigger engines. On the inclines however, it performs like Joe Allen’s Liverpool career; a load of potential which fades into mediocrity and a sense of frustration on what could have been.
As I mentioned, the ride comfort is more than fine – soft enough to not break your father’s brittle vertebrae, firm enough to withstand the bumpy roads that Johannesburg throws at you. Through the (smooth or bumpy) roads of Johannesburg you are sure to stay cool in the summer with a fantastic air-conditioning system. Apart from the vents next to each front window, the only other vents are above the infotainment system. At first, I did feel that the lack of air vents would mean I was in a mobile microwave oven. I was mistaken. The vents are more than sufficient to keep the entire car cool – even with the vents on the face/feet setting.
Michael Knight’s K.I.T.T. would be proud… 😉
Boot size is one of the benchmark factors that indicates practicality. Unfortunately, Toyota lost a few points on this front. The boot is quite small – you’d be lucky to fit two medium-sized cooler boxes in there let alone your girlfriend’s travel bag for the weekend away. The backseats will foot two adults, however, anyone over 1.7m will find it to be a bit of a squeeze. I am not a fan of the rear windows! The hinged windows are would provide cooling and a breeze that is sufficient to only satisfy my neighbour’s black cat, Chuckles.
After developing such a great on-board computer system (which I’ll talk about a bit later), Toyota really dropped the ball on the dashboard and steering wheel. The feel of it is tacky, plastic and makes it seem like I’m back in my grandmother’s Toyota Corolla from the 90s. The steering wheel has no buttons to control the radio or infotainment system. Apart from that being impractical, it also drops some safety points if you operate the system whilst driving.
I saved the best for last. What did I love about this car? The on-board infotainment system ticks all the boxes for basic necessities needed in a car, especially if it is your first car. The radio pre-sets allow you to save up to 36 (yes, 36!) radio stations. Additionally, the interface and digital system really gives you the futuristic, tech-savvy feeling that young car owners love.
I managed to upload all my contacts onto the infotainment system courtesy of the Bluetooth connectivity. I was now able to call people from the on-board computer which made life easier – and safer! I appreciated this more because the voice-recognition system on other cars are completely disobedient. The car would have went up to a whole new level if the steering controls had been present. Oh well…
The infotainment system allowed me to personalize the theme, welcome picture and even gave me the fuel consumption rates for the last few hours with bar graphs which gives it that ‘high-end, tech-savvy’ feel.
Would I buy it?
For R159 000? For a first car, it is more than sufficient and if I was a father, I would it buy it for my daughter as early as yesterday. You do really get value for money. I also don’t see how, and why, the insurance premiums on this baby would be sky high.
Compared to the cars in the same class (Kia Picanto (2015 Model), VW UP!), I would go for the Picanto or the Aygo for sure. Gun to my head I would lean towards to the Picanto. It seems a bit more rounded and comes into the market at a slightly cheaper price. I’ll be sure to check my opinion once I give the new Picanto and the Aygo X-Cite a run.
I look forward to seeing how they’ve improved with the Aygo X-Cite – especially with regards to the on-board features. Judging from what I’ve seen so far, I’m already sold with the retractable roof.
Be sure to check out my ‘On the Road With…’ video coming soon featuring @simplelifewithzahdee / @influencersofsouthafrica
Thank you to Freeway Toyota who provided me with the vehicle for the road test. Check them out at www.freeway.co.za