MOTORING NEWS - The A-segment of South Africa's car market, in which the Toyota Aygo lives, is highly contested. Contenders have to live up to expectations and keep improving or lose their market appeal. When Toyota introduced the second generation of the Aygo in 2015, it indicated a move to a more angular, aggressive design to improve the car's appeal to the younger buyers the car is aimed at.
This year, the Japanese manufacturer has refreshed the Aygo, including the top-of-the-range X-Cite model. The changes are subtle, but the Aygo now features new bumpers to bring it in line with Toyota's latest family face, along with more equipment. It still boasts the "X" motif front grille, incorporating new larger projector headlamps and LED daytime running lights. There are also rear LED lights, a large blacked-out tailgate and a lower bumper area with the "X" theme repeated.
The interior has been tweaked a bit with comfortable seats finished in multi-tone trim, front electric windows, remote central locking, power adjustable mirrors, air conditioning plus a multi-functional leather steering wheel and gear knob.
The touchscreen radio with USB and Auxiliary is easy to use, from connecting a smartphone to selecting a favourite radio station.
Exclusive to the X-Cite model, there is a power-retractable black canvas "Funroof" for the occasions the driver needs to feel freedom and wind in the hair. The Aygo X-Cite is available with five doors and can accommodate 168 litres of luggage with the rear seats up - enough to fit a pair of reasonably sized suitcases. Under the bonnet lurks a nippy 998cc naturally aspirated three-cylinder petrol engine with an output power of 53kW and 93Nm of torque. The engine is matched to a smooth five speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels.
The car feels at home in and around town, but a long trip on the highway might be testing for the driver. The compact dimensions make the car just perfect for darting through busy traffic and parking in tight spaces. It offers a fairly high seating position and all-round visibility is good, which makes driving in traffic safer, also thanks to the height-adjustable driver's seat. The interior is quiet and the ride quality is fairly smooth - even over poorly maintained roads.
The manufacturer's published fuel consumption figures are 4,3 litres per 100km. Pricing for the Aygo X-Cite is R193 100, backed by a standard three year or 100 000km
warranty. Although the competition here is stiff, the Aygo is likely to find favour with those seeking a fun runaround car that also minimises their trips to the fuel station. A range of different service plan options are available from the Toyota dealerships.
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