Toyota has conceived an extraordinary trademark new look for its second generation Aygo.
But it’s definitely going to divide potential customers into two groups – those who love it and those who hate it.
And I can’t help feeling that the divide could be age related.
Certainly the latest version makes its predecessor look tame. For while the outgoing car had a conventional “face”, the newcomer is dominated by a huge frontal X design with a vast permutation of colours available.
And it is customisation of the exterior and interior which is at the heart of the new Aygo. When it goes on sale on July 1 you will be certainly be able to make your Toyota different to everyone else’s.
But while the Xtreme new look, inspired by Japanese youth culture, will appeal to young drivers it’s unlikely to have the same attraction to older ones.
What will appeal to all, however, will be the special launch price of £7,995, some £600 below the official price tag for those who get in early. A top-of-the-range model however, will set you back £12,395
In the UK the car will come in three grades: x, x-play and x-pression, as well as two special editions x-cite and x-clusiv.
As you would expect, the more you pay the more features you get on the car but even the basic one can be customised. And customisation includes everything from what colour the giant X is on the front of the Aygo to side flashes and even colourful decals. For the interior you can order an INtense pack whch gives you a body-coloured layout throughout the car or an INspire one with its glossy black dashboard and body coloured highlights. Both cost a realistic £165.
And even after you have owned the car for a few years you will be able to change features like air vents, gear lever surround and instrument panel to give you a totally new colour scheme.
This new generation model also introduces several new features to its class, including full leather upholstery, a rear view monitor and Smart Entry – which means the car unlocks and locks simply by touching the handle as long as you have the keys on you. There’s also an impressive new x-touch multimedia system.
If you prefer your car more conservative you can forget the customisation and order your Aygo in its most basic form but both MINI and Fiat – with the 500 – have shown that the mass market welcomes the chance to have a big say in what their car looks like.
The new Aygo, which is just 25mm longer than it predecessor, is available as both a three door and five door with the choice of either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic.
In all cases power comes from a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, 69bhp engine which gives a top speed of 99 miles per hour. And while the buzzy little engine feels lively enough the 0-62 mph acceleration times are relatively slow at 14.2 seconds for the manual and 15.5 for the auto.
The bonus is that both manual and automatic transmission models are free from road tax and fuel consumption is an impressive 68.9mpg and 67.3 respectively.
Despite its relatively small size the engine is willing enough and around town feels lively and has a great throaty sound to it, a feature which has been deliberately engineered into the engine intake system.
The new car is far more rigid than the old one and a lot of work has been done on sound proofing.
Space inside is good for the dimensions of the car and I had no trouble with leg room when sitting behind the driver’s seat when it was left in the ideal position for me to drive. Like most city cars, however, luggage space is limited although it’s up 29 litres on the old model.
Last year Toyota sold a record 16,500 Aygos in the UK despite the fact that the car has been around for nine years.
Starting from that base the Japanese company looks certain to do well with its brand new version, but it’s odds on that silver surfers won’t be as excited as their children and grandchildren – unless they are really trendy that is.