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WHEN we tested the Up! 1,0 Move for the April 2015 issue, the then freshly introduced Volkswagen (VW) city car endeared itself to our test team through a combination of astute packaging, a fun-filled character and its ability, despite its diminutive size, to exude classless sophistication.

Despite reservations about how well the Up!’s otherwise eager naturally aspirated three-cylinder engine might fare at altitude, as well as the disappointing braking performance from that test unit, the Move garnered an impressive overall test score of 82/100, simultaneously seeing off a match-up box challenge from the Chevrolet Spark and Kia Picanto.

Eight months on and Up! now also refers to the price. Not only does the same R140 000 merely afford you the entry-level Take model, but the recent introduction of a similarly quirky offering from one of VWSA’s strongest traditional rivals looks set to offer the little VW its toughest challenge to date.

Although it’s built on the same production line as the Citroën C1 (the factory is based in the Czech Republic), the second-generation Toyota Aygo has been designed to more obviously distinguish itself from its French rival while aiming at a more youthful customer base than the previous model. Reinforcing this thinking is the availability of an optional (X-play) two-tone colour scheme that adds playful character to the package and places greater emphasis on the Aygo’s distinctive new X-motif front grille.

Parked alongside the more conservatively-styled Up!, the new Aygo’s exterior styling expresses exuberance and flair. Replete with a moulded roof and flared rear wheel arches, the Toyota may not be able to match the VW’s cross-generational market appeal, but the Japanese company has left little to chance in terms of seeking the approval of first-time car owners. To this end, colour-coded door handles and mirrors go some way towards making up for the absence of alloy wheels in the Aygo range. The same cannot be said for the entry-level Up! – it also rides on 14-inch steel wheels, but its handles and mirrors are unpainted.

SMALL SPACES, BIG SPEC
Some 85 mm shorter and 26 mm slimmer than the Up!, the Aygo package nevertheless offers the convenience of rear passenger doors. That said, while the five-door Up! is expected to arrive on our shores early next year, the reward for clambering over the three-door version’s somewhat clumsy front seats (that require two adjustment movements in this model) is discernibly more rear head- and legroom than what the Toyota can muster. A further boon afforded by the longer VW is a notably larger luggage area (160 dm3 versus 128 dm3).

As mentioned, while VWSA touts its mid-spec Move model as the range’s volume seller (a more premium Club was recently added), it’s the entry-level Take that matches the Aygo’s R139 900 price tag to within R100. Unfortunately for the Take, however, its minimalist standard specification list is consequently stacked against that of the generously specced Aygo in the two-model range.

The result is that the VW is left somewhat red-faced by offering manually operated windows and mirrors, a fixed-height driver’s seat, an instrument cluster comprising only a speedometer (no rev counter) and digital trip readout, and only the wiring (and two speakers) required for an audio system. Admittedly, the R5 000 worth of options fitted to our test unit (including audio system, electric windows and driver’s seat height adjustment), together with standard air-conditioning, go some way to enhance the driving experience.

The absence of Bluetooth connectivity (and to a lesser extent a USB port) from even the optional audio system should, however, be noted as a disadvantage, especially considering the tech savvy (and mobile-phone dependent) target market.

While VWSA offers the option of a dash-mounted device, we look forward to seeing a more integrated solution to coincide with the Up!’s mid-cycle facelift.

By contrast, the Toyota Aygo X-play features nice-to-have touches including electric front windows, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, digital rev-counter and, thankfully, one of the most user-friendly and intuitive touchscreen infotainment systems (including Bluetooth, USB and aux-in) in this segment. A thinly covered leather steering wheel and matching gear lever boot complete the package.

Specification aside, the Up! bests the Aygo in terms of the more premium look and feel of its various cabin materials (including some hard touch plastics) compared with those found in the Toyota. Even when you close its driver’s door, it emits a weightier thud than the Aygo.

THE TWO THREES
Adding to the Volkswagen’s superior sense of refinement is the relative lack of NVH permeating the cabin from the 999 cm3 three-cylinder petrol engine compared with that of the 998 cm3 triple in the Aygo. However, the somewhat more frantic nature of the Aygo’s lightweight (69 kg) 1KR-FE motor does go someway towards complementing the more eccentric looks of the Toyota.

With no traction control fitted to the Aygo, the ability to chirrup the 165/65 R14 front tyres off the line allows for an altogether “racier” driving style than the Up!. The VW adopts a more conservative approach (standard traction control cannot be disabled) and its engine feels that much more composed when cruising at the national speed limit. Its tested in-gear overtaking figures also confirmed superior strength through the taller gears. Both cars feature precise, easy-to-operate five-speed manual transmissions and returned impressive fuel run figures.

In a way, the recorded performance figures sum up the differences between the Aygo and Up!. While the Toyota feels that much more sprightly off of the line and, subsequently, lively around town, it can’t (and perhaps doesn’t seek to) match the overall composure and big-car feel exuded by the VW.

A welcome inclusion in both packages, front and side airbags aside, is the standard fitment of ABS-assisted brakes. On that score, our second Up! test unit fared somewhat better than the previous one, albeit still less than exceptionally, during our standard emergency braking tests.
What vehicle would you regard the quintessential "new-out-of-the-box" student car? Something with a price tag of comfortably below R150k? Until relatively recently, such vehicles were usually stripped out, previous-generation B-segment vehicles, which, thanks to their popularity, have impeded the proliferation of well-specced, if less practical, city cars such as the previous-generation Citroën C1, Peugeot 107 and Aygo.

Just as was the case with the VW Up!, the latest Toyota Aygo does not arrive on the local market at the very beginning of its lifecycle, but, thanks to an attractive price tag of R138 900, a well-judged specification and sufficient safety equipment, the newcomer represents a pint-sized student car proposition from a respected volume-selling manufacturer. And the last part of the previous statement is significant, because as opposed to the latest C1, Datsun GO, Chery QQ3, Geely LC and FAW V2, to name a few, the Aygo has a distinct advantage by virtue of Toyota's extensive dealer network and reputation for solid after-sales service. It may not be fair on the others, especially the C1 (because it is produced at the same factory in the Czech Republic as the Aygo), but that's the reality.

Nonetheless, the Aygo does not trade solely on the name of its manufacturer. Gone are the oddball looks of its predecessor, and in its place is the distinctive X-motif that dominates the front view and looks particularly striking on the X-play black (black and white/red) or X-play silver (silver and gray) specifications, both of which cost R1 000 extra and includes leather steering wheel and gearknob, which are nice-to-have items. The rear features extended upright taillamp clusters (again, an improvement on the old car's fussy posterior) and although I'd stop short of saying the little car's attractive (given its blobby proportions), it certainly appears distinctive and very youthful.

Compared with the exterior execution, the interior is a markedly more utilitarian affair and dominated by a grey centre stack with chunky HVAC controls, yet the instrument binnacle features a trip computer and, given society's obsession with smartphones, the touchscreen audio system, equipped with four speakers, with a USB socket and Bluetooth music streaming capability, is likely to be a major drawcard for buyers... or, at the very least, those who nag buyers to purchase an Aygo for them. The cloth upholstery does not seem smart, but feels as if it should be durable, and although the rear legroom is tight, the added practicality of the five-door configuration is not insignificant.

From a driver's point of view, the modest torque output of the otherwise rorty sounding three-cylinder engine requires well-considered shifts of the five-speed transmission, especially at freeway speeds, but round town (with two occupants on board), the Aygo feels sprightly enough and should prove impressively frugal to operate. Lugging the engine in second gear (when pulling away from a yield-situation in traffic, for example) is not a good idea and the clutch pedal doesn't feel particularly progressive when released. However, once a driver becomes accustomed to treating the left-most pedal like an on/off switch, progress becomes much smoother.

Where the Aygo has a notable advantage over its Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto 1,0 rivals, to name two examples, is with the provision of ABS and brake assist in conjunction with dual front and side airbags, as well as Isofix child seat anchor points. Remote central locking, electric windows (front), electrically adjustable side mirrors, a pair of drinks holders and bottle recesses in the front door pockets complete the spec.

Included in the purchase price is a 3-year/100 000 km warranty and although a 3-year/45 000 km service plan is optional, the first 1 000 customers of the new Aygo will receive a complimentary service plan at no additional cost, Toyota announced at the launch.

Many consumers will undoubtedly want to know how well the new Aygo compares with the Up! (produced by Toyota's archrival Volkswagen); suffice to say the CAR team intends to make a direct comparison between the competitors in due course. However, my initial impression leads me to suggest that although the Up! holds the edge in terms of build quality and finish, the Toyota's value-for-money proposition is superior. If you can only spend R140k and want a "new-out-of-the-box" student car, the Aygo is best.

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Cloth upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: Standard
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: front
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 4
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: outer rear
  • Emergency brake hazardlights: emergency-brake flashing brake lights
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: Standard
  • Central locking: remote
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Electric windows: front
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Heated exterior mirrors: Standard
  • Daytime driving running lights: LED
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Rear spoiler: Standard
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: petrol
  • Fuel range average: 814 km
  • Driven wheels: front
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 5
  • Gearshift: manual
  • Transmission type: manual
  • Front tyres: 165/65 R14
  • Reartyres: 165/65 R14
  • Length: 3465 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1615 mm
  • Height: 1460 mm
  • Wheel base: 2340 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 9.6 m
  • Load volume / capacity: 168 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 855 kg
  • Gross weight (GVM): 1240 kg
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 35l
  • Fuel consumption average: 4.3 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 97g/km
  • Emission control phase Euro EU level: 6
  • Power maximum: 53 kW
  • Power maximum total: 53 kW
  • Power peak revs: 6000 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 50 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 93 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 4400 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 93 Nm
  • Torque to weight ratio: 109 Nm/ton
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: 13.8s
  • Maximum top speed: 160 km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 998 cc
  • Engine size: 1.0l
  • enginedetailshort: 1.0
  • Engine + detail: 1.0
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 3
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i3
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 12
  • Variable camvalve timing: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 3
  • Warranty distance (km): 100000 km
  • Service plan: Optional
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Brand: Toyota
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 60002192
  • MMVariant: AYGO 1.0 X- PLAY (5DR)
  • MMintrodat: 2018-06-27
  • Introdate: 2018-07-27
  • DuoportarecordID: ToyoAygo2Fh02

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Toyota Aygo 1.0 X-Play (5 Door) for sale in Alberton from one of Carmag.co.za's apporoved car dealerships
Used Aygo 1.0 X-Play (5 Door) availbale from the following auto dealer:
CMH Toyota Alberton used car dealership located in: Alberton, Gauteng, South Africa

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