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Toyota Is Doing Everything It Can To Take On French Rivals In City Car Space

On Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Toyota is the largest car company in the world. And, as such, it has a lot of clout. But when it comes to the European market, the Japanese company struggles to compete with local varieties. Take the Peugeot 108, for instance. This car has been sitting atop the European city car league tables for some time now. And that’s despite its cramped rear seats and noisy engine. The Citroen C1 also dominates on the continent. Yet it’s a car that lacks refinement and feels cheap.

Toyota Aygo

So what has Toyota gotten wrong? The main problem with the Japanese company seems to be its design theory. Toyota has gotten used to making cars that look rather generic and dull. Sure, they’re cheap and reliable. But they don’t offer any of the glamour that the European market wants from a supermini. They might be cheap cars, but that doesn’t mean styling has no role whatsoever.

A couple of years ago it seems as if Toyota suddenly realised that styling was, in fact, a central issue. But rather than go it alone, Toyota partnered with Citroen on the 2014 Aygo. The partnership seems to have produced a car that is distinctly European in style. The looks of the new Aygo are certain eccentric and more interesting than the old. And the car has, in general, a funky new look. The big cross on the front bumper makes the Aygo fit in with its competition more naturally.

Now that the new model has been out a couple of years, dealers like Inchcape Toyota sell it second hand. And prices are reasonable, given how new is the car. Brand new, an Aygo would set you back £9,095-£15,120. But second hand, the new model can now be found for as little as £5,500.

Aside from a lack of personality, the biggest issue over recent years for small Toyotas has been cabin noise. Cars built after 2008 tended, especially larger cars like the Auris, had poor cabin noise control. And this made things like listening to the radio or music difficult. But Toyota has gone out of its way to improve this on the new Aygo following customer feedback. The car has better sound insulation than the old model. And that’s made a big difference to the travel experience.

The base model of the car comes with very few added extras, as you’d expect from a budget model. But the X-pression trim comes with a sophisticated infotainment system. This helps bring the Toyota up to speed with some of its French rivals. For instance, the Peugeot 108 has a seven-inch infotainment panel on the dashboard. The same goes for the Citroen C1, which has a system that also mirrors your smartphone.

The Aygo isn’t of course, the fastest car on the block. But neither are its main rivals. It’ll go from 0 to 62 in 13.9 seconds. But this comes with benefits. The main advantage is that the car produces less than the critical 100g/km of CO2. That means that if you’re planning on driving an Aygo in the UK, you’ll pay no tax.

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