Toyota Aygo (2005 – 2014) At A Glance
It must be a tough life being a car designer these days. There you are, refining the styling of the spoiler on your next imaginary supercar when along comes Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen with an impossible brief for a new small car.
First there are all the rules and regulations any new car sold in Europe must comply with: ABS, crumple zones, emissions; an almost endless list. Then there are the crash tests it must pass. Then there's fuel economy and insurance group. Then there's the tiny amount of money it must be built for and still make a profit. And, oh yes, it will have to look good and drive well so people will buy it.
At this point the bad designers jack it all in and slope off to become a dive master on Koh Samui. But the good ones relish the challenge. And Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen must have picked some good ones because between them they came up with the Aygo.
Of course it isn't just the Aygo. It's also the Peugeot 107 and the Citroen C1, all sharing the same basic structure, engine and running gear, and built in the same Czech Republic factory, but with different funky looks to set them apart. Under the bonnet is the lightest four-seater car petrol engine in the world, an all aluminium 998cc three-cylinder VVT-i petrol engine that weighs just 67 kilos, yet pumps out 67bhp and 93Nm torque. Average economy is 61.4mpg.
Toyota Aygo 2006 Road Test
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Real MPG average for a Toyota Aygo (2005 – 2014)
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Reviews for Toyota Aygo (2005 – 2014)'s top 3 rivals
Ask Honest John
We want a small car for less than £2000. What advice would you give to a clueless buyer?
"We need a second car for local trips (the school run, popping to the shops etc - no long motorway journeys). I don't want to spend more than £2000 and I've narrowed it down to three (I think), all with full service history and falling around 2008-2010. They are Toyota Aygos 1.0-litre (mileage 45-79k); Hyundai i10 1.1 or 1.2 (mileage 44-55k); and Ford Ka (2009-10) 1.2 (50k or 84k). My head says Hyundai. What advice would you give to a clueless cash car buyer?"
At this price point, it's best not to focus too much on searching out a particular model. Keep an open mind and seek out a good car for sale locally. You might find a hidden gem – a car that's been well cared for, being sold by an honest private seller and for a good price. Evidence of regular maintenance is desirable (although don't necessarily expect a fully-stamped service book), as is a long MoT test. We'd generally advise avoiding trade sellers at this price range – there are quite a few unscrupulous sellers shifting cheap cars that have been plucked from auction and are fit for scrap. That said, you might find a reputable dealer selling a good car that's been taken in part-exchange.
The Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto and Toyota Aygo (as well as the very similar Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1) are all good choices that'll be cheap to run, although their popularity with young drivers pushes prices up. You could also look at the slightly bigger Ford Fiesta – the 1.25-litre engine is very reliable and there are loads about (so you can be picky about condition).
Which cars are best for first-time drivers?
"I'm a young first-time driver who's looking for a 10 to 12-year-old car with low running costs. Insurance should be as cheap as possible and the tax possibly £20-30 a year. What cars would you advise? I do about 200 miles per month. Shall I go for petrol or diesel? Thanks in advance for your kind help."
We'd recommend a Toyota Aygo. It'll be dirt cheap to run and ought to be reliable. Also, consider a Kia Picanto or, if you'd prefer something a little bigger, a Ford Fiesta with the reliable 1.25-litre petrol engine. Don't bother with a diesel for your mileage – it'll cost more to maintain.
Toyota Aygo - cam belt or cam chain?
"Our friend has a 2012 1.0-litre petrol Toyota Aygo. She wants to know if the car has a cam chain or a cam belt, as it has just reached 70,000 miles on the clock. Can you help? "
This engine uses a timing chain. It should last the life of the car (as long as the oil is kept clean and changed every 12,000 miles or 12 months). But I'd recommend getting it checked by a qualified mechanic at the 70k mark as the chains can stretch or come loose if the car maintenance has been less than perfect.
Is the Toyota Aygo with the auto gearbox any good?
"I'm looking for a first car - which needs to be economical, compact, reliable and automatic. I've found a 2007 Toyota Aygo 1.0-litre with 46,000 miles for £3000. What is your experience of this model, please? Is this a good price? Many thanks."
Aygos are great first cars but, unfortunately, their automatic gearboxes are woeful. It uses a robotised manual gearbox which is jerky and can go expensively wrong. You'd be better looking for a Hyundai i10 or Kia Picanto.