My new Toyota Aygo

After what felt like a never ending wait, it finally arrived. To be fair to Toyota they always said it was not due until sometime in October. So the fact that I actually got it in the last days of September is nothing to complain about. But as an impatient person, having to wait a couple of months between signing the forms and getting the car was hell. All of the financial implications of the buy desision, but none of the pay off of having something to show for it.

But now that terrible time fades behind me as I enjoy driving my shiny new car.

Although I've only had it for a couple of days I thought I'd still write some first impressions. I may remember to follow up later with longer term thoughts, but I may also forget.

The big change for me, is that this is an automatic. The first I've ever owned. And in fact the test drive I took before buying this car, was the first one I'd ever driven. By all accounts it's not a traditional automatic. This is a Multi-mode transmission, which means I can if I chose control when the gear shifting occurs. Or just leave it in E for easy mode.

So far I've driven exclusively in easy mode. It's a little weird at times, to feel the car changing gear. Though I have found I'm getting used to when it is going to change, and it is much more natural feeling when I'm anticipating it.

The automatic nature does mean that it rolls forwards if you don't have your foot on the break, however I don't think that applies on hills. Unlike a normal automatic, I think this one can still roll backwards if you don't come from the break onto the power. However I've not tested this enough to be sure. It feels like if you have been on the accelerator, and only tap the brake, then it keeps enough throttle going to the engine to keep you moving. However if you come to a complete stop, after a moment the brake pedal gives a little. Like it's settling down. I *think* that at this point the car effectively disengages all power to the engine. Rather than having it fight against the brakes all the time. Which makes sense. However this means when you come off the brake, it doesn't necessarily engage enough power to stop you rolling the opposite direction until you tap the power again. Again this is all theory based on the way it feels to drive. At some point I will try it under more scientific conditions. (Or maybe just read the manaul)

In terms of speed it is pretty fun to drive. The accelerator pedal has a deffinate resistance line between 'pootling along' and 'going for it' Such that if you just press until you meet some resistence barrier, then you mode at a fairly sedate pace. If you push down through the resistance one of two things happens.

If you are coming off the line then it realises that it should not attempt to change up gears and you hit the real power revs for first and go zooming off, keeping your foot down means it changes later and gives much more power range from each gear. This is all very natural from a standing start. However if you were already in motion when you put your foot down, unless you are fairly slow and gentle to bring up the speed, it mostly decides that you clearly want to drop a gear to get more power. Sometimes even drop 2 gears.

That's quite an odd sensation, and I think the thing that most people don't like, there is suddenly a small lag between you making the desision to go faster, and it reacting, because first it has to drop a couple of gears, then the accelerator has the desired effect. I'm getting used to this lag time, and mostly it just means accounting for the extra time. I guess it will mean that in some situations I should err on the side of stopping, rather than trying to make a gap, because the time to react will just be a little too long. Only time will tell if it is a significant issue.

The handling feels very sharp, I've not really thrown it around yet, but certainly around mini roundabouts it feels good. Having 'downgraded' from a mazda 3, I've not really noticed it being a big difference in terms of handling. I wouldn't say I've lost any real world performance. The difference is that the Mazda 3 could deliver extra power in the gear I was in, where the Toyota Aygo may need to drop a gear to deliver.

I do miss my climate control, and I suspect I will miss it more in the winter as I have to fiddle with where air is blowing and hot hot etc. The main thing I've noticed so far, is that my Mazda had 2 air vents in the central console as well as two on the outside, which allowed me to have air blowing at both my hands on the steering wheel. On hot days it's nice to keep your hands cool this way. However the aygo has only the outside vents, so only one hand gets to stay cool. Again at the moment I've noticed it, and it will probably be most of a year before the weather is hot enough for me to notice it again. Probably not a big deal.

I already absolutly *love* having an AUX in on the stereo. Yes I probably could have done something to get an equivilent in any car. But it's great to be able to plug my N810 in and listen to a much larger selection of music, or podcasts. The 6 cd changer in teh mazda was just not enough capacity, and too much hasstle. My only problem now is finding podcasts that Kat and I both want to listen to, my main selection are heavily in the computing/geek field.

The Aygo is also a 3 door. ((I've never understood why a boot counts as a door, particularly in teh aygo where it's just the window that opens) I decided that for the amount of times I have passengers in teh back seat, it was not worth the extra cost of a 5 door. Of course at the moment I'm giving a friend lifts to work everyday, (his new car arrives next Thurs) so I am experiencing the nuicance of having to shift charis around to let passengers in an out. However, in real terms I'm unlikely to do this many times during my ownership of the car, so certainly worth saving the money.

Fuel economy is still an open question. I picked it up with the tank about 3/4 full and I've only done about 75 miles in it. So until I've done a few refills and get a feel for the real millage it's hard to say if it will make the published figures. I'll be happy with noticably better than the mazda.

The glove box...I wrote when I made the choice about the fact that toyota wanted £75 to put a glovebox 'lid' on what was otherwise just a pocket. I felt that I needed something in the car that I could put things out of sight. I also felt there was no way I was paying £75 for the privilage of something that has been standard on cars pretty much since their first invention. I negotiated it into the deal for no extra cost, and I'm a) glad I have it, and b)really glad I didn't pay for it. It really is a flimsy thing, a fairly cheap plastic panel with a basic latching mechanism. However I do think it is useful to have somewhere to put some bits and pieces that aren't just in plain view. Both from a security standpoint and a general looking tidier standpoint.

I also got rear parking sensors. Mainly because I wanted to get more things thrown in for free. I have yet to use them in earnest to help me park, maybe in time I will find it a boon to parking in small spaces. However, for the moment it's just a beeping that happens whilst I'm reversing.

That's about it for the moment. I like it very much, it's different to my last car, but I don't feel like I've compromised much in the search for a smaller car. Had climate control been an option I would have taken it, but I'm sure I'll live without it.