How did a second chance to drive the 2014 Toyota Aygo alter my view?
A while back I tested the Toyota Aygo and reported here on my impressions. I have had another chance to sample the same car (Sept. 19-21). This time I did a bit of silly driving and paid attention to a strange characteristic of the gear shift recommendations.
The silly driving resulted in some sliding and understeer which I didn’t mind much at all. What I noticed though was the power band and gearing behaviour became a nuisance. The main feature involved a dead spot in third and fourth gear. Upshifts from first to second didn’t attract my attention. The first to second comes at about 30 kmph. Second to third produces a similar amount of acceleration up to 50 kmph. So far so fine.
Then third gear results in a slow change of RPM from about 2500 to 3000 and only produces another 15 or 20kmph. Then the car suggests fourth which gets one from 50 kmph to 65 kmph. Again, it’s quite slow. Finally fifth which takes the car onward to top speed. It seems to me that third and fourth do the work of what ought to be a single gearshift/speed. And even then the rate of acceleration is somewhat uninspiring.
For a car with pretensions of fun, this means rapid progress on small, windy roads is impeded in a critical range if one is to stay out of first and second. You find yourself bogged down in third and fourth when you really feel the car should be making the most if its lightness and low inertia.
Later I drove about in an urban setting and found again that quite quickly I was constantly in the wrong gear: too fast for 1 and 2 but 3 and 4 produced noise and little progress. For a city car, this has to be a noticeable black mark.
The rear three quarter visibility is very compromised by that raising window line. Pulling out at junctions, when you want to look outward at oncoming traffic from the rear passenger side, is made hazardous by a pretty useless lump of door and c-pillar. I think designers really have to call time on the rising waistline schtick on safety grounds. And for the sake of the small passengers in the back, a lower waistline might provide something more to look at than hard trim, painted metal and the front seats. When perched in her seat, my 2 year old could not be seen.
Incidentally, I had a choice to upgrade to a Toyota Auris for another €25. I declined as the prospect was not sufficiently alluring. A Kia C_eed also could have been a possibility for the same price but I decided that having tested the similar i30 I could live without the
experience. Despite that I went and had a look at the interior of the C_eed and realised Kia had done things differently than Hyundai. The rear didn’t look nearly so dreary as the i30: nicer trim and upholstery were the main features that caught my eye. This led me to wonder what precisely the difference is in approach between the two brands and I hope to return to this point in the future.