► Aygo X Prologue previews new city car
► Expect production version within months
► Toyota confident of continued sales success
While other manufacturers are abandoning their city cars, Toyota has revealed a concept that previews the replacement for the big-selling Aygo.
Where previous Aygos were partnered with the Peugeot 107/108 and Citroën C1, the new model is all-Toyota, designed at the Toyota Design and Development Centre in the South of France.
All the design work has been done since the start of the Covid pandemic a year ago, with a small core team initially working from home but then returning to the studio when the project shifted from virtual to physical.
The concept rides on 19-inch wheels, which raises the overall height above that of the Yaris. But otherwise it's more compact, with a wheelbase of 2430mm and overall length of 3700mm – classic city-car territory.
Toyota Design and Development Centre president Ian Cartabiano said that in line with current trends it has elements of crossover in the design, but without the cliches of big bumpers and side cladding.
'We found we could imply the go-anywhere nature without being traditional. It's more like a lifted hot hatch, with added usability and versatility. A lot of A-segment cars overdo the "cute", and look soft and overly friendly.'
The rear lights and the nose are not a radical departure from the current Aygo, but the side view looks chunkier and more athletic. Cartabiano said the use of contrasting colours – with black on the rear, the underside and the roof – added dynamism: 'The graphic pushes the red portion forward and up, like a sprinter on the staring blocks.'
He said Toyota was convinced that it was right to stick with the A-segment, where the Aygo was consistently among Europe's top-selling cars, even though other manufacturers were struggling with profitability and emissions targets – not a problem for Toyota, with its focus on hybrid petrol engines.
'The nature of European cities is not changing. Spaces are tight. Not everyone is rich. Why give up? If consumer mindsets are changing, but there's still a fundamental greatness to this type of car, why not try to reimagine what it could be and give the customer a reason to buy it?'
Details on the concept include a cycle-rack mounting point built into the rear bumper and action cameras integrated with the door mirrors; don't expect these on the production version. But do expect the hexagonal design motif to be retained.
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