Test Drive: Toyota Aygo Luna Mandarin – The unwanted child image

Inautonews.com has recently tested the Toyota Aygo facelift in a special edition, named the Luna Mandarin, which is bringing some extra features compared to the standard version.

When buying a new car is probably like when your wife is having a baby, everyone is happy, the one who/which “rides” on all four is in the centre of your attention and all you want to do is talk about him/her/it. But when you find out that your first born is autistic, you still love him, but that love is quickly transformed into pity. This is exactly the case with the Toyota Aygo, everything goes well until you drive it for several hundred kilometers, than the defects start coming in pretty hard.

Engine and Transmission

The model we tested was powered by a 1.0 liter (998 cc) engine, which is producing a total output of 68 horsepower (50 kW) at 6,000 rpm and it has a peak torque of just 93 Nm at 3,600 rpm. The engine can be mated to either a five-speed manual or to an automatic transmission, but what we tested was the manual version. For the 0 to 100 km/h sprint you will have to wait 14.2 seconds for the manual transmission and 14.9 seconds for the automatic. Even if 68 HP sounds like not enough, if you’re driving style is sporty and you spend a lot of time in cities, than this might suit you, because if you keep it over 3,000 rpm, the engine comes to life and you won’t be disappointed, even with a couple of friends in the car and with the AC turned on. Go below 3,000 rpm and try to drive it “eco” and you might find out that you’ve aged a little in this time.

Fuel Consumption

Toyota says that the average fuel consumption in the Aygo Luna Mandarin is 4.4 liters every 100 km (4.5 for the automatic) and the model is “eating” 5.3L / 100km in cities and just 3.9L / 100km on the highways. We couldn’t find out if that’s true because the Aygo isn’t coming with a trip computer, even if the version we tested was the top of the line, but a full tank had let us drive for almost 600 km, mostly with the AC on and only in the city.

The Ride

The Toyota Aygo has been developed as an urban cruiser but that doesn’t mean that the ride is comfortable, not even close, and in the small Japanese hatchback you will feel every pebble on the road. We can understand this because the car is aimed towards young drivers, who are supposed to drive fast, but what we don’t understand is why the front seats don’t have any side support.

Other than this, the Toyota Aygo Luna Mandarin is quite stable and you can go around corners faster than you would in some newer models, like the Skoda Citigo, which we recently tested. Under steering comes in later than in the Czech model and this means that you can have more fun in it, up to a point, because taking it over 120 km/h takes forever.

Interior Design

The cabin of the Toyota Aygo is one of the worst places I’ve been and even this is just a facelift and not a new generation, the designers of the Japanese carmaker have a lot of work to do in order to take the future version to the level of the Twingo, of the Up! or even of its brothers, the 107 and the C1. The center console should bring a fresh touch to the cabin but its shape, color, material and the way it’s illuminated at night makes you feel sorry you didn’t check out the competition before buying it. But we can understand that for two reasons, one is that the company is trying to reduce production costs and this is reflected into the final cost of the product, and two, the Aygo has been around for several years.

All the buttons in the Toyota Aygo are placed in exactly the right place and this will be appreciated by any driver of the car and the passengers will also appreciate something: the storage spaces. The rear seats of the Toyota Aygo have been designed in order to carry two people but they also can carry three with two conditions: they don’t have to be fast-food fans and they don’t have to be taller than 1.75cm because their knees will hit the front seats and their heads will hit the roof.

Equipment Level

The model we chosen was the top of the line Luna Mandarin Special Edition and it came with manual air conditioning, four-speaker radio CD player, USB, Bluetooth, two-way adjustable steering wheel, , leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift lever, two headrests for the rear seats, front electric windows, side airbags, two front airbags, electric assisted steering, ISOFIX, central locking, ABS, EBD, BA. Besides these, the Luna Mandarin is adding body colored door handles and side mirrors, body colored insertions in the cabin and 14-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 155/65 tires.

Safety

The Toyota Aygo hasn’t been tested by the EuroNCAP but its brother, the Citroen C1, has received a 4-star rating, scoring 26 points in adult occupant protection, 37 points in child occupant protection and 14 points in pedestrian protection.

Likes / Dislikes

We drove the Toyota Aygo for four days and we had plenty of time to figure it out if we liked it. But just like every other vehicle out there, the Aygo has its good parts and some which aren’t that good. For example, when I drove it alone and put my laptop and my photo camera on the front seat, the sensor was telling me that the front passenger should be wearing a seatbelt and I ended up putting the seatbelt to my laptop after a few annoying beeps. We also didn’t like the plastics used in the cabin, we didn’t like the shape of the dashboard and last, but not least, we didn’t like the fact that the driver cannot operate the right-front window because there is no button on the driver’s side for that.

The first thing we saw when we took the keys for the Toyota Aygo Luna Mandarin was its exterior design and we must admit that that front fascia is absolutely gorgeous and even if the Aygo is older than most of its competitors, the exterior design is way ahead. We also liked the air conditioning which, despite an outside temperature of more than 40 degrees Celsius, it made its job very well.

The final words are if you want a car which will take you from A to B wrapped in a cute body, than this is the obvious choice for you but if you want more from your vehicle, perhaps you should check out the competition too, even if that competition is actually based on the same model in this case. The base price of the 2012 Toyota Aygo in Romania is set at 9,901 euros for the three-door while for the Luna Mandarin MMT you will have to pay 11,861 euros.