2014 Toyota Geneva Motor Show: New AYGO- Toyota's unique take on the A-segment
New AYGO is driven by Akio Toyoda's determination to make ever better cars that are even more fun to drive. It builds on the current AYGO's strengths of a frequently refreshed model line-up, engaging design and driving enjoyment with a new, more playful dimension. New AYGO's design theme was dubbed 'J-Playful' a link to contemporary Japanese youth-culture, which favours strong and outspoken shapes and forms.
From an iconic new frontal 'X' design to its range of customisation options, all styling and engineering decisions for new AYGO were purposefully made with fun in mind.
A design that forces people to take sides
"My main driver was to create a car that people would fall in love with" says David Terai, Chief Engineer of new AYGO. "Traditionally, the appeal of A-segment cars has come from their practicality and compactness, and from their price-tag. But, all too often, they lack in desirability. The elements that make you truly want a car, that make you grab that brochure again and again while you are deciding on your purchase, are compromised. Design is treated as secondary, and there isn't much equipment to select from."
"There seems to be an implicit agreement amongst vehicle planners, stylists and engineers that drivers of small cars don't spend much time behind the wheel anyway, and that therefore they won't mind having to compromise. I simply cannot believe that this is true. I am convinced that these drivers -just like any other- want a car that they can be proud of, and I took it as my task to create such a car."
This approach explains why new AYGO builds on the legacy of the first generation, which already went some way towards rejecting the conventional and basic A-segment stereotype. Despite its compact dimensions, it has a striking appearance, with dramatic and sophisticated yet playful lines. It's a design that forces people to take sides that will not appeal to everyone. And David Terai maintains that this was exactly his intention.
"If you aim for an emotional link between customer and design, you have to accept that tastes differ" he says. "And in a crowded market place, it is better to have a design that half the people absolutely love, rather than one that nobody objects to. That is why new AYGO wants to stand out."
And it does. Both the interior and the exterior have been conceived in such a way as to allow a wide variety of different executions. So now, new AYGO's not only fun to drive, but also fun to customise to your own bespoke style. And each of the resulting personalities has the ability to appeal to a specific taste.
What's more, about 10 parts around the vehicle can be easily replaced by alternative colours and executions, allowing customers to create their very own AYGO. Clever construction and a carefully considered installation strategy keep this personalisation affordable and straightforward, ensuring that both price and delivery time remain fitting for the A-segment.
Life on board is now even better, thanks to increased cabin space and an array of innovative equipment designed to fit the lifestyle of the younger customer base that is likely to embrace new AYGO. The most eye-catching example is the x-touch multimedia system. Its 7" full-colour touch screen controls numerous on-board systems, and MirrorLink smartphone connectivity allows the car to be seamlessly integrated into the busy online lives that most of us lead these days.
New AYGO is equipped with an improved version of Toyota's award-winning 3-cylinder, 1.0 litre VVT-i petrol engine. Still one of the lightest engines in its class, this remarkable unit incorporates numerous revisions that enhance performance and help deliver class-leading fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.
With new AYGO now ready for its first customers, Chief Engineer Terai is a happy man: "I wanted to avoid the traditional compromises of the A-segment, by creating something that I could be truly proud of. When I look at the car now, it makes me smile and fall in love, so I feel I have succeeded." It's Toyota's hope that the smiles don't just end there, and that new AYGO can bring a sense of irreverent fun to drivers and passengers alike.
New AYGO was designed to seduce. The design theme was dubbed 'J-Playful'. It takes its inspiration from contemporary Japanese youth-culture, which favours strong and outspoken shapes and forms.
"Pride of ownership comes first and foremost from the design" says Chief Designer Nobuo Nakamura. "Every time you look at your new car parked out in front, you want to feel a reconfirmation of the choice you've made. That is why we didn't accept any compromise on styling."
Compact packaging was fundamental to the demands of new AYGO's largely urban-based customers. The overall length has increased by just 25 mm to 3,455 mm, maintaining new AYGO's class leading compactness. Despite a 7 mm increase in front headroom, vehicle height was reduced by 5 mm for aerodynamic efficiency. And the track was widened by 8 mm at both the front and rear to improve vehicle stance.
Though compact and playful, the exterior exudes robustness. This is no accident, as Nakamura goes on to explain. "Designing a compact car such as this one is not easy. You want it to be loveable, but at the same time it also needs to have proper street credibility. Therefore, it should look solid and strong, fully occupying its space and having real road presence."
This solidity comes from a strong mono-form which provides the overall volume of the design. In order to add a playful character, the concept was based on the expansion of a soft object within this rigid structure. As it bursts through the hard shell, it creates break lines and forms the AYGO's bold frontal 'X' graphic. This spreads outwards across the surface of the bodywork, and contains all the vehicle's key components, including upper and lower grilles, headlamps, foglamps, and even mirrors and side glazing.
"To protect the integrity of this design, we had to make some tough choices" says Nakamura. "For example, for the headlights to be narrow enough to be located within the 'X' graphic, they had to incorporate projector technology. This is exceptional in the A-segment, which tends to favour the cheaper but larger reflector type, and a good example of how often we rejected compromise in order to end up with a better car."
This powerful 'X' graphic also forms the basis for the exterior customisation, which is integral to the design of new AYGO.
In profile, the roof has been lowered and the front header moved forwards. As a result, the cabin's centre of gravity also shifts to the front, creating a more balanced and forward leaning posture. This is further emphasized by a sloping beltline which terminates in the forward leaning rear light clusters. The roof itself features a new, double bubble-style profile and an integral rear spoiler to aid aerodynamics.
The shape of the side-glazing differs between the 3- and 5-door models, the latter extending its window graphic into the rear light clusters, giving a feeling of length appropriate to a 5-door vehicle.
The rear of new AYGO mirrors the frontal design statement. In this case, the tailgate and lower bumper form the break lines splitting the solid surface of the vehicle. The lamp clusters are set within a hexagonal tailgate, and the upper bumper section widens into strongly protruding wheel arches which give the vehicle a broad and stable stance.
The main theme for the interior design is provided by the trapezoidal centre console, the design of which is mirrored throughout the cabin in such elements as air vents, door trim and the gear lever surround.
The console supports a wide dashboard with a matt anti-glare finish, framed by sleek A-pillars designed to increase driver visibility. The instrumentation features a concentric ring meter design. Permanently lit, it incorporates a central multi-information display with a large font for optimum legibility.
As with the exterior, numerous interior elements can be customized.
"We worked a lot on ergonomics," says Chief Engineer Terai. "Mindful of the younger type of customer we see in the segment, we reduced the steering wheel angle from 28 to 26.6 degrees, we reduced the front seat hip point by 10 mm, and we equipped the driver's seat with height adjustment. So finding your preferred seating position should be easy."
Despite an unchanged wheelbase of 2,340 mm, the length of the passenger compartment has been increased by 9 mm, with 20 mm wider armrests further contributing to front seat comfort.
Finally, the luggage capacity was increased by 29 litres to 168 litres, and access has been improved thanks to a 75 mm wider load space opening between the tailgate sill and the rear seat back.
Keep it safe
The new Toyota AYGO is equipped with a wide range of active and passive safety features.
It offers, fitted as standard, ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), curtain airbags, Isofix child seat attachment, a tyre pressure monitoring system, an adjustable speed limiter and, newly adopted, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and emergency brake signalling.
New AYGO's high rigidity bodyshell is designed to not only minimise cabin deformation during front, side and rear collisions, but also absorb pedestrian collision impact forces.
The lights that lead the way
Standard on all new AYGO models, the headlamp clusters incorporate Poly-Ellipsoid System (PES)-type halogen headlamps for a longer reach and broader illumination under both low and high beam conditions, and integral LED clearance lamps which give the AYGO a unique light signature, making it recognisable from afar.