Durban - Millennials, people born during the 1980s to the early 2000s, love the city. We (I was born in the '80s) love working in them, playing in them and, of course, driving in them.
Which brings me to the latest Toyota Aygo. The first iteration was launched in 2011 and four years later a dramatically-styled new version has hit Mzansi’s shores with the local launch in Durban.
Toyota expects its Aygo to take up parking spaces in areas such as Maboneng, and Tamboerskloof. Since the little hatch is aimed at the younger market, I thought I'd use millennial-speak to hold their attention.
Panda design - why you so angry?
Of the colour combinations available at launch, I was drawn to the white hue which contrasts well with the black 'x-motif' grille.
Gallery: 2015 Toyota Aygo
The styling is certainly on fleek* and most of the younger journalists agreed that Toyota's designers did a good job. However, I definitely see an 'angry panda' at the front (see pic below).
The Aygo has short, stubby dimensions: its 3455mm long and has a kerb weight (the weight of a car without occupants or baggage) of just 855kgs.
One of the Aygo's strongest design 'elements' is the availability of a funky two-tone exterior colour design. Two dual-tone versions are available - X-play black and X-play silver. As the name suggests, the X-play black has a black roof which can be paired with either red or white body colour.
The X-play Silver can be paired with the gray paint job, accented by a silver roof. I preferred the red/black roof combination, whereas the silver option I found uninspiring.
Millennials love smartphones and the Aygo has a large, quirky, colourful touchscreen audio system with customisable colours and graphics (it even display a cool fuel consumption bar graph). Expect Bluetooth functionality, remote central locking, power windows, electrically adjustable side-mirrors and air con as standard.
Standard kit is pretty awesome, with a 12-volt power socket and USB and auxiliary inputs for the four-speaker audio system are also catered for. The X-Play models add a leather gear-lever and steering wheel respectively.
1.0 litres are so popular...
Like its rivals (Volkswagen Up! and Kia Picanto ) the Aygo is powered by a three-cylinder 1.0 litre unit (used in the previous generation) though with marginal gains.
Despite the increase in power it didn’t feel sprightly, in fact the "angry Panda" I drove felt like it ate too much bamboo. The engine develops 51kW/95Nm and Toyota claims a "sprint time" of 14.2 seconds to reach 0-100km/h. Its top speed is a claimed 160km/h.
The five-speed manual performs well and a shift-light encourages frugal driving. It proved adequate in Durban’s muggy CBD.
However its performance peaks too early, problematic if you're overtaking or climbing hills. Keep its revs perked up like Donald Trump at a Republican rally and you’ll be a happy driver... provided you stay within a city.
Despite its size, the Aygo is packed with safety equipment: driver, passenger and front side airbags, an impact absorbing body structure, ABS and brake assist.
What's it like to drive?
A light clutch made gear-shifts easy and its agile enough to nip between lanes. The Aygo delivers exactly what's expected from a car in its class though it could use more power.
It terms of suspension, it's fitted with a MacPherson strut at the front and torsion beam at the rear. It's capable of soaking up undulations with great all-round damping though you should probably stick to smooth roads.
A cool option for the X-Play models is the addition of a leather trim for the steering-wheel and gear-shifter. The steering-wheel is a chunky unit with a great design and arguably made the driving experience a tad better.
Awkward subject - enough rear legroom?
Does the Aygo have enough rear legroom? In short, no - at least with my driving position. I wasn’t able to comfortably fit my admittedly lanky 1.89m frame into the rear seat. Rear space proved tighter than AKA’s jeans and its lack of grab handles isn't ayoba.
Toyota's Aygo features a bespoke ‘double-bubble’ design which according to Toyota “provides ample headroom”.
The new Aygo is now 25mm longer and 5mm lower. The advent of rear-doors makes the Aygo marginally more practical but as you can see in the picture below it’s a tight squeeze. The rear seats can be folded (50/50 split), which helps if you ever need to transport children or small pets.
Its tiny boot is accessed via a black glass panel which also forms the majority of the hatch.
Toyota's aimed its new Aygo at thrifty millennials, with that being said, the entry-level Aygo (Toyota didn’t want us to call it that) is R138 900 and the X-Play models are R139 900 each.
The world's most valuable automaker is hoping to sell 250 units a month and given its the little hatchback's popularity, that’ll be a whole lot easier than buying tickets to Rocking the Daisies.
The Aygo offers a fun, feature-packed, good-looking car in the competitive A-segment. It's well specced and the build quality is improved. Behind the wheel of the Aygo you might not be the quickest millennial on SA's roads but you'll certainly be the funkiest.
The Aygo is sold with a three-year/100 000km warranty with an optional service plan. The first 1000 customers will receive a service plan at no additional cost.
*Urban dictionary defines 'on fleek' as - "a state of completeness and flawlessness, the quality of being perfect 2) the combination of fly and sleek".