Meet the new Toyota Aygo X, which you probably perceive to be a regular Aygo on stilts. However, while it carries the Aygo name, it is actually based on the Yaris chassis so it’s a little bigger as well as being taller. It follows in the wake of the very practical Yaris Cross, and is designed to give its owners a mini crossover feel, with hints of compact SUV.
To think of this as an off-roader would be a mistake, but as a compact and fun urban-roamer it fits the bill. Especially in this top of the range limited-edition guise with the bi-tone paintjob, highlighted accents on the 18-inch matte black wheels and the full-length powered canvas roof.
Unlike most of the current Toyota range, this is not a hybrid, which also makes it available with a sweet manual gearbox as a must-have alternative to the CVT automatic. There’s a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine putting out 71bhp, and on paper the performance figures reflect the lowly output with a 0-62mph acceleration of 15.6 seconds and a top speed of 98mph. However, you gain at the pumps with up to 58mpg and CO2 emissions are 117g/km.
Don’t let the numbers put you off, around town in traffic, it’s good enough to keep up with the flow, and plus the engine makes an intriguingly sporty sound, although sometimes you do feel like there is a little more noise than there is accompanying speed. Still, you get to work that manual shifter.
Regardless of how it goes, it looks the part, jacked-up, pumped, body-armour and poise, it’s like no Aygo you’ve ever seen before. It’s kind of passive-aggressive butch mini-me and certainly stands out from the usual blandness.
At the back the tailgate is just a one-piece glass unit, but behind it is potentially sufficient room to do an airport run for one, and you can fold down the rear seats too of course, should that one person have excess baggage.
The windows on the rear doors don’t wind down, they flip out on a latch, old-skool style. Setting the driver’s seat for my six-two frame with long legs means I can barely squeeze into the back, and would only manage short journeys. Regular sized adults would fare better, and children should be fine.
No issues with space or comfort up front however. The steering wheel is only rake adjustable, but it doesn’t prove an issue. The climate control has a pollen filter. There are some great design details like the stitching, the dash trim colour, vents colour etc. It’s actually a fun as well an accommodating environment.
Let’s talk about ‘fun’ again. A small motor it may have, but one of the advantages of that is that you get to ring its neck regularly. You can floor the throttle, rev up to 6000rpm, slam through the gears and still not be going that quickly. But from your high(er) vantage point you’ll feel like you are and you’ll see better around you to know which gaps to aim for. Just know you’ll be in a lower gear than you’d normally expect.
The steering is a little light for my preferences, and the clutch could do with more bitey definition, but overall it’s agile handling, tight body control and excellent ride, which transmits just enough for the road surface to keep you apprised of conditions, is finely engineered, along with the poise as this hoisted Aygo never feels top heavy.
So, arise Sir Aygo… no higher than that… there you go, now you’re the Aygo X and ex-Aygo owners looking for something a little larger, a tad taller, a mite beefier are lining up to seek your services. By all means put the X against this on your shortlist, but do first try it out for size, or alternatively consider the Yaris Cross.