By on June 8, 2007

aygo-fr-640-426.jpgWhat does ten thousand US dollars buy an automobilist these days? How about ceramic brakes for your Porsche 911 and a bit of pocket change. Or a more-or-less acceptable used car. If you want a new set of wheels, ten large buys you a generic-Asian small car with wooden-feeling controls, a depressing interior, lousy ride, asthmatic engine and poor dynamics. No image, no resale, no fun. You might as well take the bus. Alternatively, if you live in Europe, you could buy a Toyota Aygo. But should you?

The Aygo’s makers pronounce their car’s name the "I-go,” evoking the idea of, wait for it, mobility. From the outside, the little city car shares a noticeable similarity with its automotive antonym, the Yugo. Like Ye Olde Zastava Koral, the Czech-built Aygo is teeny-weeny. In fact, at 134”, the Aygo’s the shortest five-door vehicle on sale in Europe, and the second-shortest car overall (after the Smart). And that’s where the similarities end.

rear.jpgWhereas the Yugo was a two-box Golf clone pummeled with an ugly stick, the Aygo is a one-box mini-minivan (complete with severely raked windscreen) that fits within the Japanese car-as-Pokemon design theme. The Aygo sports short overhangs, inoffensive proportions and nice details, such as artfully sculpted headlights and semi-concealed rear doors. It’s an aesthetically convincing answer to a difficult question: how the Hell do you fit four adults into a shoebox-on-wheels?

Answer: you don’t. The Aygo’s front seat occupants enjoy plenty of headroom, legroom and knee room. The Aygo is narrow enough to swipe through a credit card machine. So unless you’re broad of beam, you won't think you're sitting in a tiny car– until rear seat passengers ask you to scoot forward before they lose all feeling in their legs. No wonder Toyota didn’t call it the Wego.

interior1.jpgBy the same token, a four-up Aygo’s MINIscule boot (139 liters) won’t accommodate anything larger than a couple of loafs of bread (provided they’re not extra long baguettes). Combined with a complete lack of lockable storage space, it’s a major drawback for practically-minded and/or financially challenged buyers.

As Sciontologists will tell you, the cheap seats give you the best view of modern automotive design. The Aygo’s dash design looks fresh and funky without once over-reaching. There are chunky-funky backlit polycarbonate climate controls, plenty of small bins, a large iPodable audio system– and that's all. The cockpit makes drivers feel youngish and stylish, and not financially challenged.

football1.jpgThe Aygo’s designers followed Colin Chapman’s dictate: to make a better-driving car, add lightness. The Aygo’s three cylinder 1.0-liter mill is the lightest engine on the market today, weighing just 67kg (the Lexus LS460’s transmission weighs 95kg). The tiny Toyota’s powerplant cranks out 68hp, pushing the automotive microlite from zero to sixty in 14 seconds and all the way to [a very brave] 100mph. (To achieve this performance, Colin and I recommend removing passengers.)

More to the point, the Aygo’s powerplant is a smooth, willing beastie, with a pleasant, thrummy sound up and down the rev range. Even better, no matter how hard you work the five-speed gearbox, you’ll still get at least 48 mpg. 

football2.jpgI know: caning a car of this size and power is a bit like drag racing golf carts. But within the realm of “slow,” the Aygo is still a remarkably chuckable, consistent and maneuverable vehicle. Its suspension is an evolution of the Yaris’ torsion beam set-up, which is plenty damn stiff. Since the Aygo has no electronic handling nanny and 14” wheels, it’s a good thing that the car’s at and over-the-limit oversteer is controllable and linear.

Refinement is great, provided you’re OK with an unfair amount of road roar. The aforementioned suspension makes the car feel solid, but the penalty comes with a ride that’s hard and bouncy.

After 600 miles in the Aygo, it’s hard not to make a piercing glimpse into the obvious: the Aygo is an urban, or sub-urban, vehicle. And a damn fine one it is too. The Aygo’s tiny turning circle makes U-turns quick and stress-free, and there’s pleasure to be had in a spirited screeching-tire jounce up a parking garage's ramp. The Aygo may be cheap, but it's spry.

aygo-m-640-440.jpgThe Aygo has plenty of competition: the FIAT Panda, Ford Ka, Suzuki Alto, Kia Picanto, Getz (a.k.a. Hyundai) Aica, and the Aygo’s badge-engineered brethren (the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107). Other than its stylishness, the Aygo’s trump card is money. The car that puts the toy back in Toyota has been designed to be cheap to buy and run (e.g. the engine has a timing chain). Toyota predicts service and repair costs of about $600 for the first 60K miles.

The Aygo could well be the least expensive car to own in Europe. Unexpectedly, it also has a lot of character.

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61 Comments on “Toyota Aygo Review...”

  • avatar

    Hooray – more Euro focused reviews! Bravo!

  • avatar

    Shows to be a respectable little machine, and 51.13 MPG doesn’t hurt either, if that is an accurate number. So in my best Toyota speak, Brayng ayt to Canada, and Ay wayll go by one!

  • avatar

    oversteer? for reals?

    why do i suddenly want this car?

  • avatar

    Does (could)the Euro Aygo have the safety features required by US cars? The little 3-pot may wheeze a bit with the added baggage (ala Geo Metro)

  • avatar

    Provided your onramps are all downhill, this would be fine on US roads (also assuming it passes our “passive safety” standards)

    Much more marketable to North America than Smart, IMO…although not as gimmicky. But for less money, more space, and comparable performance, it’s a no-brainer. How’s the space with the rear seats folded? I suspect that would be my 90% configuration, since I rarely carry rear passengers as it is.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    The car I drove had front discs only, but ABS, front airbags, side airbags. 4 out of 5 stars in the Euro-NCAP crash test rating.

    Options: curtain airbags, ESP.

  • avatar

    This is interesting:

    Tinny (but upgradable) sound system. Modular, inexpensive Sat-Nav. Nothing else– and nothing that can break.

    So what, you buy the screen; save some money and then buy the antenna; save a bit more, and buy the guts of the GPS unit to complete the NAV?

  • avatar

    And people say that Scion xBs are slow but they’re 5 seconds faster 0-60.
    I’ll bet if you sat at a light and measured the acceleration rate of the traffic from a standstill it would be much slower than a 14 sec. 0-60 rate.
    What a cute car. Toyota’s styling for small cars is really coming along. I really like the styling of the Yaris 3 and 5 door hatches but the sedan sucks.

  • avatar

    Odddavid, regardless of that car being a Toyota, it is a great car! The Fiat Panda is still the one to beat, though, especially the 4×4 version, which will humiliate any SUV south of a wrangler on the rock paths.

    Martin, thanks for the Euro-review. It’s interesting to see TTAC explore more horizons.

    one thing though: The Aygo could well be the least expensive car to own in Europe. Unexpectedly, it also has a lot of character.”

    Wouldn’t the Logan be the least expensive car, with everything designed to be sturdy and cheap to repair?

  • avatar

    I think the interesting thing about this car is the fact that it has twin brothers sold by Peugeot and Citroen. These are pretty much the exact same car ( except for slightly different front ends ) made in the same factory by the same people with the same parts and yet, the Toyota lists at a premium over the other two brands

    Just goes to show how things have changed in the last 10 years….

  • avatar

    The name Aygo is ok but I like Nova better.

  • avatar

    Whereas the Yugo was a two-box Golf clone pummeled with an ugly stick, The Yugo, Belgrade’s finest, was a FIAT derivative.

    My guess is that Toyota feels that needs to compete in all market segments, with the Tundra/Sequoia for the US and the Aygo for the European market.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Fun to drive and doesn’t look like a overweight, cancerous blob? We need Toyotas like this in the US.

  • avatar

    Given the comments regarding acceleration and top speed, it brings to mind one of my favorite rules regarding motorcycles (and rider ability):

    “It’s more fun to go fast on a slow bike than it is to go slow on a fast bike.”

    Given the usual expectation of driver ability in cars (aka, almost nobody here is as good as driver as they think they are), I can see the same holding true for this one.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Glenn: “modular” was my fancy-pants way of saying the sat-nav is just a standard TomTom installed and cleanly-wired in the cubbyhole above the CD-player. Cheap, and much better looking than one of those thingies you stick to the windshield.

    AKM: the Logan is cheaper to buy but has higher fuel consumption, higher tax and insurance rates (in most countries), and a higher CO2 rating (the Aygo is third-lowest, after the new Diesel Smart and the Prius). Also, the Aygo has (predicted) lower depreciation and repair costs — it ain’t cheap to repair an old Renault.

  • avatar

    Martin Schwoerer- GREAT review. KEEP IT UP and maybe we will see soem of these cars here!

    Sajeev Mehta – agreed – we DO need cars like this in the states.

    I prefer small engines and small cars IF they are fun. They are in Europe – I can understand the manufacturers relectance to bring cars like this here – seems these days if you are not packing at lease 250hp, you will not be taken seriously – i dont understand that. Even tho there are lots of HUGE vehicles around – here in the crouded northeast USA, we NEED and WANT cars like this. Well at least I DO! The most fun I ever had with cars was a second generation Honda coupe – probably about 50 HP total -also a Fiat X1-9, with a tiny 1.3 litre 4 that made probably about 70 HP – it was a BLAST to drive. Handling and suppleness is everything to me!

    Even BMW is only bringing their new 1 series here with a 6 cyl – geeze – and only the coupe – not the hatch or ragtop – whats up with that? I really don’t get it.

  • avatar

    I have had the Citroen (C1, 5 doors) version of the Aygo for about 16 months now. Very pleased with it, but never got the mpg the press always report – 45mpg on average. Short trips though. On the motorway once it dropped to 50+ but it’s really not a car for the motorway.

    When I bought it the Citroen salesman (who smelled of booze at 10 in the morning) was pushing me to buy a C3 for the same price. The C3 is much bigger etc. But it felt so cheap inside! Tried to open the glove box and the lid snapped in my hand. The C1’s interior does feel solid – thanks Toyota!

    – The stereo’s sound is pretty awful (and can’t hear it on the motorway).
    – The cabin’s air vent doesn’t have a mesh so you get small leaves and flower petals on the dashboard.
    – The electronic petrol gauge is completely non-linear.
    – The passenger’s electric window control is on the passenger door.
    – Citroen dealers…
    – I can park it anywhere because it’s so small (it’s my station car and I wouldn’t swap it for anything else for that reason).
    – The dashboard at night looks pretty groovy (the ventilation control area glows in the dark).
    – It’s fun to drive. Not fast but roaring and nimble.
    – When sat at the front it really feels as big as a car twice its size.
    – In the UK it’s in the lowest insurance group (1 out of 20) and the cheapest road tax group (£40/year).
    – Although it has a tiny boot it’s really easy to fold the rear seats and get a goad load in.
    – It has all the safety features of a modern car – ABS, ESP, airbags etc.
    – It’s a Citroen hence cheap BUT it’s made by Toyota – bargain!!!

  • avatar

    NICKNICK: No, no, no! Why do ‘Ay’ suddenly want this car?

  • avatar

    Except … you cannot buy an Aygo for $10,000 US in Europe. They cost more. Looks to me like the most bare stripped down entry level version is at least $12,000 to $14,000 depending on the country.

    Perhaps you should compare it to what an American could buy for between $12,000 and $18,000. Not sure the Aygo is preferable to Honda Civic LX.

  • avatar

    After spending a month in Ireland last summer, I contemplated taking a Peugeot 107 home in my suitcase. It seemed entirely plausible. I live in NYC, and my love of cars conflicts greatly with my love of NOT having a car. A car like this would be great, not that I need a car at all right now.

    When I was there, I rented a Renault Modus with a couple friends. It was a small fun car in its own way, and actually fit four of us. I agree with sykerocker, there is something fun about driving a slow car fast – I think it had a 1.2L four.

  • avatar

    You CAN get the badge engineered Citroen C1 twin of the Aygo cheaply – in Germany, Citroen dealers want 6.600 € (including taxes)
    Subtract the taxes, and you are looking at a $7500 car.
    Nice review, Martin. Makes me want to write something too.

  • avatar

    The fundamental answer to the fundamental question of why the buy automakers don’t bring these models to the USA:
    The USA average consumer is fundamentally dumb! They put their social status and lifestyle wishes before their needs. Subcompacts are a niche market in the USA dedicate only to people that actually know their needs and put them ahead of their wishes.
    Toyota does need a niche vehicle, now they are number one in the mass market; they need mass market vehicle. Aygo does not have the mass market potential in the USA… yet!

  • avatar

    It’s a chicken and egg problem: A market for intelligently made subcompacts can’t begin to exist if there aren’t any.

  • avatar

    My daily commute takes me through areas near Ford (Dearborn) and Toyota (Ann Arbor) facilities, for the past couple of weeks I have seen at least one Peugeot 107 with a manufacturer plate on it heading to Dearborn in the morning. I have also seen a couple of other Peugeot models around Ford’s Dearborn facilities. Maybe someone is looking at bringing it over the pond from Europe.

  • avatar
    Jan Andersson

    In Sweden, Toyota wants young people to ”subscript ” to an Aygo. It’s only $300 a month for two years including insurance, service and repairs. You only have to buy the gas. Maybe “once Toyota, always Toyota? But you can also buy it if you insist.

  • avatar

    rashakor “The USA average consumer is fundamentally dumb! They put their social status and lifestyle wishes before their needs.”

    You paint a portrait of the average US consumer with an incredibly broad brush. I think you disparage American consumers unjustifiably.

    I believe it is the cost of putting up a plant and getting that money back is the problem. After all even this car had to split the cost three ways between Toyota Peugeot and Citroen and then it had to be made in eastern europe to make it economically feasible.

    Scion sold 50,000 plus Xbs a year, limited only by their own production capacity.

    I can assure you for every “my car is an extension of my social status buyer”, you will find a buyer who does not care what others think of their car.

  • avatar

    Jan Andersson – what a great idea!

  • avatar

    Jan Andersson:
    In Sweden…

    Cool ad! =>

  • avatar

    I just like the fact that they have the instrument cluster in the proper location, not in the middle of the car like Scions, MINI’s, and the Yaris. Power (or the lack of it) is something that can easily be remedied by an aftermarket company like Greddy, HKS, or even Toyota’s own in-house tuner, TRD.

    Damn shame it’s tires will never touch an American road.

  • avatar

    Looks like a pretty fun car to tool around in, even if its 0-60 is comparable to Paris’ time spent in a 12’x8′ room eating hot dogs.

  • avatar

    ^^ That quick, eh? I just might have to buy! ;-)

  • avatar

    The USA average consumer is fundamentally dumb! They put their social status and lifestyle wishes before their needs.

    American consumers have responded rationally to the low gas price environment and general lack of space constraints by favoring many other factors over fuel efficiency, simple as that. I personally think large SUV’s are “dumb” from the perspective of driving dynamics and negative externalities (the danger posed to other drivers), but enjoyment is subjective and externalities by definition are outside the individual consumer’s decision set.

    American consumers are not dumb. IF (big “if”) we collectively get serious about reducing fuel consumption, a massive federal gas tax will be imposed and American consumers will respond by buying smaller cars. Until then, the obsession with CAFE indicates that this country is not serious about the issue. So be it. But American consumers are just doing what rational consumers should do – maximize their individual utility functions.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    quasimondo: From what I have heard, Toyota plans to introduce an updated / uprated Aygo in the U.S. in 2008. Probably with at least 100 HP. Hopefully not fatted up / dumbed down like the second-gen Scion Xb Paul Niedermeyer wrote about on this very website.

  • avatar

    I thought this review was extremely well written and very informative. It’s great to know there’s such a good car in this size; too bad it isn’t coming here.

  • avatar

    The USA average consumer is fundamentally dumb! They put their social status and lifestyle wishes before their needs.

    The quest for status is written into the genes of H. sapiens. It’s very hard for logic to overcome emotion.

  • avatar

    Off-topic: I was highly critical of the new “xB” when it was reviewed a while ago. I just saw one last night. It’s a nice looking vehicle. If it had been added to the Scion line as something new, instead of replacing the xB, I wouldn’t be critical. It’s no xB, and I mourn the xB’s passing, but it’s probably a decent vehicle in its own right.

  • avatar

    Nice review and certainly an appealing vehicle at today’s gas prices and given my wife’s inability to parallel park or even back up without drama. However, two things worry me ‘pushing the automotive microlite from zero to sixty in 14 seconds‘ and the fact that the Aygo is sized just right to fit into the wheel well of a tractor trailer.

  • avatar

    I agree on the new xB-it seems like a very nice vehicle, but it’s not an xB. In some ways, the xD is the spiritual successor to both the old xB and the xA.

    As for the Aygo, Toyota seems to be strongly mulling over selling it in the US. I dunno how big a market there is for cars smaller than the Yaris in America, but if there is such a market, I’m sure the Aygo would dominate it.

  • avatar

    Martin S.:
    “The car I drove had front discs only, but ABS, front airbags, side airbags. 4 out of 5 stars in the Euro-NCAP crash test rating.
    Options: curtain airbags, ESP.”

    Thanks! As was mentioned by Martin in another post, the little bugger is a 100HP engine away from being useable here. (I can’t say much for my 6′4″ frame folding into it.) The real danger would lie in being surrounded by SUV’s in a mall parking lot, and having somebody just whip on in to what appears to be an “empty” space. I would follow the “motorcycle rule”: park as far back as feasible in the space to prevent this!

  • avatar

    “the Aygo is third-lowest, after the new Diesel Smart and the Prius”
    I’m pretty sure the Polo Bluemotion has lower CO2 emissions than the Prius too – and the MY08 Mini Cooper D undercuts the Polo BM when it gets the start/stop system, which will be in September, I think.

  • avatar

    Back to the future. I had a car that sounded just like the Aygo, a 1986 Mazda 323. No power (82 hp), but real light (~2000 lbs), on skinny tires, so it was a blast to toss around. Interior was just above “hose it out” quality, but then I didn’t know any better, so it was great. Turning circle? About the size of a nickel. Wonderful stuff. I have nothing but good memories of that Great Little Car (Mazda, you had it nailed the first time.)

  • avatar

    How much does the Aygo weigh? If the power-to-weight ratio is anything similar to a CRX Si, I’ll be the first in line to snatch one up.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    quasimondo: the Aygo weighs 790 – 890kg.

    MR42HH: you may have a point about the Bluemotion VW. But (sorry!) I have guests on this wonderful summer evening that I have to attend to… I will check the CO2 data and get back to you in a few hours.

  • avatar

    I think superminis like the Aygo make some sense in North America, definitely more sense than a Smart car given the value proposition (Smart cars cost way more than they should).
    Some people seem a bit overly optimistic as to the performance of the thing though; it’s got about 60% of the power of a CRX for similar weight, it’s really an economy car, not a pocket rocket. I’m sure it has some potential, but not with just minor modifications.

    Good job reviewing cars from other markets, it’s nice to see: not everyone reads the UK car mags.

  • avatar

    I’m pretty sure the Polo Bluemotion has lower CO2 emissions than the Prius too

    I’ll have to correct that. According to WhatCar, the Prius emits 106 grams of CO2 per kilometer, while the Polo Blue Motion emits 124 grams per kilometer, which is almost 17% higher than the Prius.

    The USA average consumer is fundamentally dumb! They put their social status and lifestyle wishes before their needs.

    Not quite. Living in a prosperous country with cheap fuel (until recently) and easy credit, American car buyers have long been able to readily fulfill their needs with a variety of products. As Maslow noted, if need fulfillment is easy, then the natural next step is to ascend the pyramid and fulfill your wants, too.

    Need fulfillment abroad has been far more expensive to achieve, particularly with the higher fuel taxes, which have tempered the desire for foreign consumers to go much beyond that — status abroad ain’t cheap. But even in Europe, cars with horsepower and bulk fetch a premium over the practical runabouts, which tells you that they also view acceleration and luxury as virtues worth paying extra for (assuming that you can afford it…)

  • avatar

    14 seconds isn’t so bad. Realistically, in your commute, how often does anyone even come close to that moving away from a stoplight? Plus, most urban driving is zero to 30 or 35, and I bet this machine is plenty powerful enough for that.

    I’d buy one if you could fit a couple of dogs in the back with the seats folded down and the price came close to the numbers listed here.

    If we hit +$5 a gallon here you’re going to have people clamoring for these things. At 15 MPG average, a 30 mile commute is going to cost you $20 a day. No way a working class dude is going to be able to justify his Dakota in those conditions.

  • avatar

    I don’t know what What Car was smoking, but have a look at Toyota’s website:
    and at VW’s:

    104 g/km for the Prius, 99 g/km for the 3-door Polo. 108 g/km for the 5-door though. All under the European driving cycle.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    On a bleary-eyed Saturday morning, I hope this information about CO2 emissions outta Wikipedia (.de) is sufficient:

    – Mini MK2 Diesel: 118 g/km
    – VW Polo TDI Bluemotion: 109 g/km
    – Civic Hybrid: 107 g/km
    – Aygo: 107 g/km
    – Prius: 104 g/km
    – Smart MK2 Diesel: 88 g/km

    It’s interesting the VW statistics indicate 99g/km for the 3-door Polo. 10% lower emissions caused by a minor difference? How did they do it?

  • avatar

    I don’t know… maybe the missing rear door handles reduce aerodynamic drag? ;)
    It’s interesting that the mini will drop from 118 g/km to 104 in August – 3.9 l/100km (60.2 mpg US)

  • avatar

    This segment is a comer in the U.S. The Mazda2 is on the way.

  • avatar

    In Europe, the Aygo would be considered 1.5 segments lower than the Mazda 2.
    The Mazda 2 is more like the Honda Fit in size.

  • avatar

    Sajeev writes “Fun to drive and doesn’t look like a overweight, cancerous blob? We need Toyotas like this in the US.”

    This seems to be a cool little car, I just wish it didn’t carry the Toyota badge. Toyota has seemingly unstoppable momentum in the states these days, even while ignoring the ‘fun-to-drive’ sector. If they rediscover their playful side, the other companies that sell cars in the US haven’t got a chance.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    I don’t know that Colin Chapman wanted to “add lightness,” as much as he wanted to not add weight; such as we have in the typical American behemoths now known as “SUVs” that replaced the typical American behemoths known as “full-sized American cars,” shortly after the demise of the latter in the early Eighties.

    In today’s Seattle Times there’s an Op-ed piece by berating the Bush administration in terms of its supposedly not allowing higher mileage standards, entitled “Again, Bush delays the inevitable,” (by Ann McFeatters). It would be laughable to read yet another piece making it sound as if the president personally keeps out vehicles such as the Aygo – or the neat little Subaru Viveo microcar with a supercharged 600 cc engine and all-wheel-drive that was a home market only vehicle, last time I heard tell.

    The great thing about the appearance of a review on a vehicle such as the Aygo, is it helps create an understanding that the cars we need in American cities exist and can be marketed at a reasonable price. It might even help create the market that is needed to make the economies of scale work so that companies will be able to sell them in the States.

    But the thing is, getting the government to reconsider its crash standards, to allow such cars to be sold. Of course, we also need to get people out of their huge-honkin’ SUVs to make the streets a bit safer for the Aygo and the average American motorcyclist. Maybe it’s time to slap a Federal gas tax on each gallon of gas to pay down the Iraq occupation? A dollar a gallon should do the job.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Terry, I agree with you 100%.

    One additional thought / question. Over here the NCAP tests also include pedestrian safety. The Aygo gets two out of four stars for that; SUVs regularly get only one star. I don’t know whether pedestrian deaths are as much of an issue in the States as they are over here. But perhaps if safety regulations not only intended to protect car occupants, but also people on the street, society might move on to more sensible vehicles?

  • avatar

    June 9th, 2007 at 2:02 am

    14 seconds isn’t so bad. Realistically, in your commute, how often does anyone even come close to that moving away from a stoplight? Plus, most urban driving is zero to 30 or 35, and I bet this machine is plenty powerful enough for that.

    From a stop rarely; however, going up an on ramp onto I5, I better be able to go faster. I don’t really enjoy it too much when I gt stuck behind grandpa going about 50 while I watch the semi bearing down on me at 65. Gridlock hasn’t reached the freeways here and decent acceleration has a practical side to it, self preservation.

    I was just talking to somebody on Friday about how all the developments in engine technology over the last 35 years have gone into making more power with the same displacement. A lightweight car sporting a 1.3L engine making 80 – 100 hp makes sense to me. As long as its got enough power to safely merge on a freeway (Scion xB, for instance), that car’s in the running for my driveway. Why do we all seem to need 250 hp or 300 hp, etc?

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    Well Martin, here in Seattle WA USA, pedestrian deaths have become big news; the catalyst for that was when the aid to a Seattle City Councilman, was killed in a crosswalk, last winter. But then, in what has sadly become Seattle’s claim to infamy, people talk, newspapers do articles and nothing of substance is done. (Note to self and others: one more reason to leave what is an overrated, overpriced city.)

    The combination of drivers yakking on cell phones whilst driving at rates of speed usually 10 miles-per-hour over the limit, dark winters and pedestrains (seemingly) addicted to their iPods almost certainly guarantee more disasters.

    As far as the Feds regulating the design of cars to make it safer if a pedestrian is hit by one, to my knowledge, Europe is ahead of the States in that regard. That’s why there was so much concern by American enthusiasts, about two, maybe three years ago, when the new standards went into effect on hood height of European marques, as to how it would translate to the American market.

    But your logic, seems to me, is correct. If there’s more of an uproar about pedesterians getting killed, certainly SUVs will begin to have yet another reason to be returned to the function they once had: taking people off road for fishing or hiking, rather than shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or Lake Washington Boulevard in Kirkland, Washington.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    OK, let’s see if I can get it right, one time. The word is “pedestrian” and I meant to spell it like that each time I wrote it, in the last post. Too bad there’s no spell checker in the posting mechanism here. But I know, I know, one should more carefully copy edit one’s writing before posting – despite what is de reguer (sic) on the ‘net.

  • avatar

    Looking at the length and engine size of the Aygo, it appears to be an upengined Kei car (it seems to meet the current 3.4 meter maximum length requirement, but its engine exceeds the 0.66 liter maximum displacement requirement).

    That being said, I wonder what NHTSA and other Federal/state regulations would have to be changed (if any) to allow the sale of Kei cars or similar vehicles for the US market. As fuel prices rise, it seems a market niche waiting to be filled.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    AuricTech: I think Toyota/PSA didn’t worry about the Kei regulations when they developed the Aygo. There are significant differences.

    Max length 3400mm
    Max width 1408 mm
    Max engine displacement 660cc
    Max horses 64


    I would surmise that the Kei regulations are good for creating a car with minimum footprint. For the Western world, they are pretty exotic — they make a car underdisplaced and overly narrow.

    As to U.S. safety regulations: I don’t know enough about them and why they should prevent Kei imports. My (admittedly cynical) impression is that U.S. regulations are not particularly advanced, but I am open for corrections. (My opinion is based on examples such as the stupid bumper rules in the 1970s, the late introduction of offset crash tests, and negligence of pedestrian safety).

  • avatar

    This Car is bad ass! I rented one for a week and I wanted to take it home with me! Its the perfect everyday city car!

  • avatar

    This is an excellent car. Save (sturdy, rigid body, excellent front seats, built for cheap repairs) for its size. Very generous space in the front, 6ft 4in persons find head room to spare. The interior shown above features the mechanized 5 speed gearbox which is simply incredible. Very fast up- and downshifts, amazingly smooth behavior in automatic mode. This is a city car which can also be easily driven at 80mph for hours, if needed.

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