ROAD TEST: Toyota Aygo, à la Mode

Toyota Aygo Mode
Toyota Aygo Mode
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Toyota’s revised Aygo range is going to take a little getting used to, but nestling somewhere near the top of it is the Mode.

It gets 14-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear privacy glass, LED daytime running lights and is offered with a single 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine.

As soon as you drive the Aygo, it’s clear that although the chassis is no longer quite state of the art, it was always a very good base from which to build. The 1.0-litre petrol engine needs leaning on if it’s to replicate the published 14 second sprint to 60mph, but that’s not the point of this car and never has been. Aygo is a citycar first and foremost and it majors on being able to step neatly off the line to 20mph and offer good all-round visibility in the process. The electric power steering takes the hassle out of parking and the 9.46m turning circle means that even if you spot a parking place on the other side of the road, you may be able to throw a quick U-turn to bag it. The 1.0-litre petrol unit is billed as the world’s lightest production engine. A five-speed manual transmission is the default choice, but Toyota’s Multi-mode Manual Transmission is also available as an option, offering clutchless gear changing for those who want to take the drag out of city driving.

Ride quality is surprisingly good for what is such a small and inexpensive car and the Aygo is one of those citycars that you wouldn’t mind driving longer distances. It’s able to keep up with the cut and thrust of motorway driving although you might need the odd downchange to keep the 67bhp engine on the boil. Top speed is pegged at 98mph, but with a fair wind and favourable incline, you’ll hit the ton where conditions allow. The damping performance of the front and rear shock absorbers has also been tweaked for a smoother ride.

The Mode brings a few styling tweaks to the Aygo’s familiar shape.

It features a set of 14-inch eight-spoke Ragno alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear privacy glass, LED daytime running lights, as well as body coloured door handles and mirrors. The Aygo’s shape is nicely bulbous and that’s to the benefit of space inside. Buyers choose from three or five-door versions.

In the cabin the look and feel of the fixtures and fittings has been improved. This higher perceived quality can be witnessed in a new dark grey finish for the upper and lower dashboard sections, while there’s also a redesigned steering wheel finished with leather trim, plus paddle controls on the steering column if you opt for Toyota’s Multimode automated manual transmission.

The Aygo’s position on the top step of the citycar podium seems a fairly distant memory since the introduction of the Volkswagen up!/Skoda Citigo/SEAT Mii triplets and in order to keep customers coming back, Toyota has had to come up with a better value proposition.

The Aygo Mode is fairly well equipped and starts at less than £10,000 but given the fact that the Citigo in SE trim is around £1,000 less, Toyota would appear to have its work cut out.

The Aygo remains a great citycar though. It drives well and is extremely reliable.