The 2016 Toyota Aygo launch rocked, not because it was in Durban, but because I was lucky enough to be there a day before the first fleet of journos. I was representing Chris Wall Media in the capacity of photographer which afforded me the use of a new Aygo for the day while trawling Durban's streets looking for shoot locations. Thanks to this I got to drive the Aygo in real world conditions without having to follow a route map, using it as if it was my daily runner. After a few hours in the little car I felt pretty comfortable, it's a great drive and was perfect for darting in and out of the queues of holiday makers - it was super manoeuverable. A city car with interesting looks and great features.
For the launch side, the journos landed at King Shaka Airport and after registration and a short briefing they were all paired up, two to a car (myself included), and headed out on the first part of the route - destination: Beluga Umhlanga. I'm surprised there aren't more XXL motoring journalists out there because the manufacturers spoil us good and proper. Dumplings and a chicken / potato main of sorts was great. Luckily from Beluga we headed off through Durban's streets to Moses Mabida Stadium where we would sit in on a presentation about the new Aygo and then have a chance to work off the big lunch - on a Segway tour! I dunno about you but that's something I've always wanted to do. I'm happy to report that I won't be appearing in in fail videos either, they're surprisingly easy to get around on, much like the Aygo.
From the stadium it was off to the hotel - Waterfront Hotel & Spa. A pretty funky spot that I've used as a shoot location before. Their parking lot is surrounded by the old walls of the building that was levelled to make way for the new hotel. They're proped up with large metal girders, it's quite an interesting look. The inside of these walls has been painted a cream colour, but they looked better before when they were left with the original paint and bare brickwork. Anyhoo, it was a good place to call home for the night. Before heading to bed, we were taken to dinner - more food! This time it was at La-Vue, SA's only 5-star floating restaurant on an 85 foot luxury catamaran. Again, great food, great experience, full tummy. I wasn't even bothered by the fact that I can't swim and after a brandy or two I calmed down enough to stop looking for ice bergs.
But what about the Aygo? Yeah, I've kept you waiting long enough. Here's the run down... It's a good looking little car, one of the more attractive offering in the A-segment now. The first thing to draw your eye is the big X on the nose of the car that stretches around the front and extends up to the roof along the A-pillars. The halogen headlights also have some serious angles going on too, adding to that funky, angular front end. From the side the car also looks good, it took me a while to realize there are four doors, mainly because the rear pop-out windows are a little hidden. From the side you can also see the roofline bubbles up helping extend interior headroom. The rear also sports an X, the top of which surrounds a black tempered glass hatch lid and the lower part is incorporated into the bumper. The striking taillights work well with the theme of the car. Both model options only have 14-inch steelies with hubcaps which are adequate I guess. Some tasty 15-inch alloys would bump the Aygo's street cred up a few notches though.
The interior has comfy bucket-like front seats, a height adjustable steering wheel, a funky gauge cluster, Bluetooth functionality, remote central locking, front power windows, electrically adjustable side mirrors, a fast working aircon, a 12-volt power socket, USB and auxiliary inputs, a 4-speaker audio system and a great infotainment system headed up by a touchscreen in the centre of the dash. Not overly complicated and quite easy to get the hang of, I was connected to my smart phone in a minute or so. Within two minutes Psycho Reptiles was playing at full ball. This system will no doubt be a major attraction to new buyers in this A-segment because it's not common in this class, I think a bar has been set by Toyota.
The Aygo's 1000cc, 3-cylinder motor makes a healthy 51kW and 95Nm of torque, more than enough for the light body. The low weight combined with the right gear ratios mean you don’t need to rev it to get going, slow rolling pull-offs can be done from 2nd gear and it’s more than capable of keeping up with highway traffic. The Aygo handles well too, you can chuck it around harder than you would in normal driving conditions and it offers predictable feedback. 4.4L/100km is claimed for the combined cycle, but you're never going to see that on a launch unless a challenge has actually been set for the journos. On the safety front the Agyo sports front and side airbags, ABS, Brake Assist and ISOFIX attachment points.
I wasn't alone in thinking that the Aygo will help Toyota get a tight hold on the A-segment market. It offers a fair bit at a great price. These new A-segment cars are starting to punch well above their weight, packed with value and features. So yeah, if I were you and I was in the market for an A-segment car, I'd take a good look at an Aygo.
Aygo 1.0 – R 138 900
Aygo X-play Black 1.0 – R139 900
Aygo X-play Silver 1.0 – R 139 900
A 3-year 100 000km warranty is standard with a service plan being optional.
The first 1000 customers will receive a complimentary service plan at no additional cost.