The Toyota Aygo - x - from £8,945
The first contender is Toyota’s Aygo, the model getting a much needed refresh a couple of years ago. Since then it has made its mark as a real city car contender as its exterior design, with the ‘X’ front, makes it stand out on the roads in what has become a very competitive segment in the market.
There is one engine available, a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol that produces 69hp. The downside is that it can be quite noisy getting up to speed and at low revs it feels quite sluggish, but on the plus side it’s a nippy car around town and is also a good motorway cruiser. Fuel economy is also a big bonus, it emits just 95g/km of CO2 and with fuel economy up to 68.9mpg its running costs will be very low as it’s road tax exempt.
If you’re looking for a fun drive then the Aygo is spot on, steering is well weighted, it’s agile and the ride is good too.
With a funky, colourful interior there is the possibility of personalising the Aygo but be warned the rear is quite cramped and tall people will struggle. The boot was increased on this generation Aygo so despite its size it’s possible to fit in a couple of suitcases. With plenty of standard equipment including Hill-Start Assist Control, LED daytime running lights, ISOFIX and rear seatbelt reminders, the Toyota Aygo rates very highly as a city car.
Renault Twingo - Expression - from £9,495
The third generation Twingo is the quirky, compact model that turns head wherever it goes and in our group test is the only car that comes solely as a five-door.
Like a lot of cars in this segment, bright colours and personalisation seem to be the way of manufacturers attracting buyers and the Twingo has a very colourful interior with plastic trim inserts, air vent surrounds and instrument panels brightening up the cabin.
The boot space is larger than the Aygo, this can be increased as the rear seats fold flat and if you happen to be transporting something large and long, then the front passenger seat also folds flat to increase it to 2.3 metres of load length.
The Twingo also comes with plenty of standard equipment too, including tyre pressure monitors, tinted rear windows, electronic stability control and DAB radio with Bluetooth.
The 1.0-litre SCe 70 comes with the entry level Expression model, producing 70hp it’s not the most powerful engine by any means and although the three-cylinder petrol works well around town, it struggles massively on hills. It’s not as economical as the Aygo base model, with a combined 56.5mpg and emitting 112g/km of CO2 it will cost £30 annually in road tax.
As it’s a rear-engined, rear-wheel drive it’s a very solid ride, it’s nimble, makes light work of city driving and with a turning circle of only 8.59 metres it’s very manoeuvrable to nab any small parking spots.
Does it have what it takes to steal the top spot from its French rival?
Peugeot 108 - Allure - £8,495
The 108 has a distinct Peugeot design, with its feline-esque appearance and iconic lion logo on the bonnet, it was also developed in a joint project with Toyota and Citroen so the Aygo and C1 have a lot in common with the 108. For those summer months, like the rival Aygo and Twingo, there is the option of a retractable roof and plenty of personalisation options and themes.
The 108 has the biggest boot in this road test at 196-litres making it really practical and it has enough space for four adults to sit comfortably.
With an interior that boasts a colour seven-inch touchscreen and Peugeot’s Mirror Screen system, which displays what’s on your smartphone directly onto the screen, the 108 has plenty of technology including DAB radio and Bluetooth.
The base model comes with a 1.0-litre 68hp PureTech engine, the three-cylinder is a lively, noisy engine but can struggle at low revs. It emits just 95g/km of CO2 so is exempt from road tax with low running costs another plus point of the 108.
The ride is good, it deals well with a variety of road surfaces and like most city cars steering is light providing plenty of feedback. If you go for the soft top version the wind noise can be deafening and it spoils the enjoyment of driving the 108.
The 108 has a good standard equipment list which includes LED daytime running lights, electric front windows, a height adjustable steering wheel and ISOFIX.
Peugeot’s Just Add Fuel package lets drivers from the age of 18 drive a new 108 with 3 years insurance, warranty, servicing, car tax and roadside assistance, all for a monthly payment. It has never been easier to buy a Peugeot.
City Car Price
The Peugeot 108 wins this category as it’s the cheapest one in this road test and their Just Add Fuel package is very appealable to new drivers.
As city cars they’re all more practical than you think, the Toyota Aygo does score minus points for its limited head room, but it is the Renault Twingo that walks away with this accolade due to its loading length and the ability to fold down the front passenger seat.
Which is the best?
It’s a tough one to call as they’re all really good city cars, the Aygo has the edge in terms of looks, the Twingo has the practicality, the 108 is priced well and they all come with plenty of standard equipment.
But we have to pick one and the top spot goes to the Peugeot 108 - it’s stylish, affordable and economical.