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Emma Woodcock – Co-wheels member and professional motoring journalist – returns to test the Toyota Aygo. Here are her thoughts. 



Bright, white and simple, the Toyota Aygo gives you everything you need and little you don’t. There are five Aygos on the Co-wheels Birmingham fleet right now, they’re petrol-powered and they seat four.

What’s it like inside?Shot 1

Co-wheels’ Aygos are basic but cheery inside. The driving position is high and forwards, giving a clear view of the road for shorter drivers, and the large speedometer and rev-counter are easy to read. Adjustability is limited to seat distance and backrest angle; the seat height and steering wheel are fixed so taller drivers can feel cramped. Adults will just fit in the rear seats but won’t want to stay there long; children will be perfectly comfortable and there are ISOFIX mounting points.

There aren’t many buttons to press – the Aygo isn’t overburdened with fancy electronics – but those that are present are chunky and distinctive. The twin ratchets for fan direction and heat are novel, making it easy to change settings without taking your eyes off the road. Connectivity is limited to one auxiliary port, allowing a ‘dumb’ iPod or phone connection.

What’s an Aygo’s natural habitat?

At 3430mm long and 1615mm wide, the Aygo belongs anywhere you could do with less car. From singletrack country roads to multi-storey carparks, the Aygo will wriggle into spaces other cars just can’t. With a turning circle of 4.73m, it can even claim to be more manoeuvrable than a black cab.

On the road, the Aygo feels light as a breeze. Not one of the steering, gearbox or pedals requires much effort or punishes mistakes. The brakes are very eager and the clutch has a long bite point, both of which help in urban driving. Overall, the Aygo feels most comfortable at 30mph.

The best way to take advantage of these assets when parking is to reverse into spaces, the easy clutch allowing you to reverse without any throttle. Due to the car’s flat rear and minimal overhang the car stops where the back window does, making it easy to judge distances. Apply steering lock as quickly as possible then take it off as required to make the tightest spots!

I’d like to go further afield. Is the Aygo for me?

If that journey involves a long motorway drive, maybe not. The Aygo is susceptible to crosswinds in bad weather and cabin noise is high at a 70mph cruise, which can become wearing. In addition, the Aygo’s combination of small engine and long gears encourages good forward-planning to maintain a steady speed. Put up with these inconveniences, however, and you’ll be rewarded with 56mpg.

What’s this X-play… cross-play… thing?

If you’ve hired a Co-wheels car from Stirchley recently, you may have noticed that one of the Aygos parked there has a bluffer, more angular shape than the others: like a specialised Lego brick. This is the Aygo X-play, the second generation Aygo which Toyota unveiled in 2014. Much of the car – the engine, the gearbox, even the air conditioning – remains the same but there are some key improvements.

A number of these changes focus on refinement: retuned suspension, which softens the car’s response to rough roads; a USB and phone port for greater device connectivity and height-adjustable front seats, to accommodate taller drivers. Stability control adds another layer of safety in bad conditions while a larger power steering motor means the steering responds more quickly and requires less effort. That last upgrade is a real boon in tight parking spaces!

Where are the Aygos and how much do they cost?

The Aygo is currently the most ubiquitous car on Co-wheels’ Birmingham fleet and can be found in Cotteridge, Kings Heath and Stirchley. Both the first-generation Aygo and the Aygo X-play cost £4.75 per hour or £33.25 per 24 hour period to hire. All hires are also subject to a 18 pence-per-mile mileage charge. 

Emma Woodcock is a professional motoring journalist with five years’ experience in print and online. She believes in thorough testing, like when she thoroughly tested a rally car’s ability to mow through some forest. Oops. 

Words and photos copyright Emma Woodcock 2016.