There’s no question about Aygo’s success as one of the best value, fun-to-drive cars on the market, but the time has come for some strategic changes that strengthen both its performance and its owner-appeal.

In the first significant revisions since Aygo broke on to the scene in 2005, Toyota’s urban star gains a new front-end design, new interior trims and new equipment features. And to ensure it remains one of the cheapest new cars to run, its multi-award-winning engine has been tweaked to bring CO2 emissions below the 100g/km mark and to push combined cycle fuel economy above 65mpg.

The new Aygo will be revealed at the Brussels motor show on 10 January and will go on sale in the UK in March. Specifications, prices and further details of the UK model range will be announced nearer the on-sale date.

Design

Aygo has a fresh new look with a front-end treatment that follows Toyota’s new design language.

Echoing some of the features that characterise new Yaris, there is a greater emphasis on the lower section of the car, to express a more planted, purposeful stance. This can be seen in the wider front bumper, with integrated foglights at each corner and a large trapezoidal air intake. Optional LED daytime running lights set into the lower edge of the grille add further emphasis to the look.

The upper front grille has been rendered more slender, while the new bonnet design contributes more to Aygo’s overall road presence. The re-style has added just 15mm to Aygo’s length; other dimensions – including the tight 4.73m turning circle – are unchanged, making the car as well-suited to life around town as ever.

The design changes are not just about looking good: the new bumper is more aerodynamically efficient while the larger intake improves engine cooling performance.

Extra street style comes courtesy of dark-tinted rear privacy glass for both three and five-door versions, new 14-inch wheelcap designs and a range of seven exterior paint choices, including a vibrant new metallic orange.

In the cabin the look and feel of the fixtures and fittings has been improved. This higher perceived quality can be witnessed in a new dark grey finish for the upper and lower dashboard sections, giving the cabin a more integrated appearance.

A new-design steering wheel comes with a leather trim, plus paddle controls on the steering column for models using Toyota’s Multimode automated manual transmission.

Adding an extra flash of style, the ring surrounds of the speedometer, tachometer and air vents are finished in grey, orange or black, with the front door speaker surrounds coloured silver or orange.

Two audio systems are offered – a 35W AM/FM/CD package with two or four speakers, or a new unit that comes with Bluetooth, a multi-language display and a USB port for connecting portable music players such as iPods.

The attention to detail goes as far as changing the opening angle of the rear parcel shelf to give easier access to the loadspace.

Engine

Aygo’s Toyota-designed and manufactured three-cylinder 1.0-litre VVT-i petrol engine is renowned for its spirited performance and superb efficiency, reflected in multiple International Engine of the Year Awards over the past few years. Detailed changes have achieved even greater efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions and increasing fuel economy, without compromising its appealing character.

The all-aluminium unit, which is one of the lightest on the market, tipping the scales at just 67kg, has a revised combustion chamber design that increases combustion efficiency and raises the compression ratio from 10.5 to 11.0:1. It also gains harder-wearing iridium-tipped spark plugs. Top line performance figures of 67bhp (50kW) at 6,000rpm and 93Nm of torque at 3,600rpm are unchanged. But with five-speed manual transmission CO2 emissions fall from 105 to a road tax-busting 99g/km* and combined cycle fuel consumption improves from 61.3 to 65.7mpg*. For versions fitted with Multimode, emissions are down from 106 to 104g/km* and fuel economy rises from 61.4 to 63.8mpg*.

Saving money in tax and at the pumps will be backed up by Aygo’s established low insurance costs; the current model occupies the lowest possible UK insurance groups, between 1E and 3E according to version.

Toyota has also taken measures to make life on board quieter and more comfortable. Extra insulation has been added under the bonnet and adjustments made to the clutch system to reduce noise and vibration, and damping performance of the front and rear shock absorbers has been tweaked for a smoother ride.

* Emissions and fuel consumption figures remain provisional prior to official homologation.