City car triplets were born to the automotive industry in 2005.
Fortunately, while they were very much the same under the surface, they had a few distinguishing features and very different names, so were easily identified as the Toyota Aygo, the Citroen C1 and the Peugeot 107.
Sometimes these automotive collaborations are the result of expediency – the Ford Galaxy, the SEAT Alhambra and the VW Sharan trio, for example – but in this case it was the result of a carefully considered partnership which has lasted for nearly a decade and is set to continue, for this month sees the launch of the next generation triumvirate.
Although there have been numerous tweaks, add-ons and haircuts for all along the way, this is the first major change due in part to the life cycle and in part to the fact that there are now more than 20 rivals in the field rather than the nine or so of 2005.
Again all three are built on the same production line in Kolin in the Czech Republic and again have an identical DNA beneath the body panels.
But, of the three, the Aygo is most likely to catch the eye. Its striking design and hi-tech additions are aimed squarely at the younger market.
The X on the front is a stroke of genius by someone. It really marks the spot where the Agyo is different from its siblings.
And the fun continues inside with brightly coloured interior highlights offered as an option.
The air vents, central console, dash surrounds and gear lever surround can all be personalised in terms of colour. A-pillars, bumpers, side sills, rear diffuser and roofs can also be ordered in various hues.
Powered by Toyota’s award-winning 1.0litre petrol engine, the new Aygo pootles with consummate ease around town and has just about enough grunt to keep up with the big boys on the motorways.
The manual gearing is neat and tidy – the auto box less so unless you stick to lower speeds and, being automated in nature, give it plenty of time to sort out its gearing.
Current Aygo owners who switch to the newer model will only have to contend with a few extra millimetres in length.
The plus is more interior space and a slightly wider track for improved stability.
They may also be one of the few to realise that the arm rest in the front is a couple of centimetres wider and that the angle of the steering wheel is a couple of centimetres less upright.
The new Aygo is available as a three or five-door model and with three trim grades – x, x-play and x-pression - plus two specials – x-cite and x-clusiv.
Colour choices number five – white, silver, grey, blue and red.
The eye-catching orange is sadly confined to the x-cite, with black being the only choice for x-clusiv buyers.
Toyota has decided to takes just the one engine.
The 69hp unit is capable of reaching 62mph in 14.2 seconds from a standing start and on to a top speed of 99mph. So this is no boy racer or indeed any sort of racer at all.
Despite its undeniably sporty look, the Aygo’s performance is very much in keeping with its ‘compact city car’ tag.
Official stats put the average fuel consumption at 68.9mpg and CO2 at 95g/km so no road tax to pay and infrequent visits to the fuel pump for those with a steady right foot.
On the road the new Aygo now has the advantage of revised suspension settings with retuned rear springs and shocks. The steering too has been tweaked for more feedback. The result is a neat little operator which is very much at home in the city centre.
Handling is precise, as is manoeuvrability. Add an optional reversing camera and parking becomes a doddle.
The only minor gripe is the positioning of the mirror adjusters which are set low down between the door and the steering wheel and require a stretch to be able to adjust the angle while keeping the rear in view.
Prices start at £8,595 for the entry-level, three-door, x model which is a lower price than the outgoing model. Standard spec includes LED daytime running lights, power front windows, ABS and hill start assist as well as Toyotas five year warranty.
A (big) step up to the orange x-cite adds the eye-catching colour scheme, 15-inch alloys with an orange centre cap, gloss back door handles and mirrors, front fog lights, DAB radio, rear view camera. It also adds £2,600 to the price making it £11,195 for the three-door manual.
X-Touch can be specified as an option adding a seven-inch screen, with rear view camera, Bluetooth and smartphone compatibility; to this can be added a sat-nav package.
Toyota also offers a couple of optional packs for inside and out personalisation.
By way of a ha, ha, ha moment the thermometer showing the outside temperature will cause the display to seemingly ‘freeze over’ when it drops below three degrees centigrade and turn red and give off steam at more than 40C.
The new Aygo is on sale in July and expected to sell well. Last year – despite being in its ninth year of production – it sold in record numbers. Sales across Europe have totalled more than 760,000.
n More than 10 parts around the new Aygo can easily be replaced to change colour so customers can personalise their car.