Saturday, June 23, 2012

Needing a new clutch not a new car means Aygo stays, but the Citigo was very tempting

Toyota Aygo BlueMy Aygo reaches its fourth birthday this summer and will be due its first MOT.

The clutch needs replaced. (I’m a novice when it comes to car mechanics. So I’ve been driving around for a few weeks – maybe months – with a clutch that’s slipping. I asked: What’ll happen when the clutch finally goes? It’ll rev like crazy and the car won’t go anywhere, the mechanic replied.)

The MOT and clutch led me to a mid-life crisis. Obviously “mid-life” more in terms of the car rather than me! It suddenly felt like a good opportunity change cars.

With a penchant for small cars – “City Cars” as the class is referred to – the Aygo was perfect … other than its ability to chew through window wipers, water seeping in under the driver’s door, having to scrape ice off the inside of the front window in winter, crunching every time you put it in reverse, taking two years to get the lock on the glove box lid fixed, and getting from first into second gear requiring a lot more force than it did when the car was new.

AiB's shrinking carsThe habit of successive cars getting smaller was going to be hard to continue. Lengthwise, Polo > Mini > SMART roadster > Aygo. A two seater SMART was fun for six months four years ago, but not a long term solution. A Toyota IQ looks lovely, but comes with a price tag to match its high spec configuration.

The Volkswagen up!, SEAT Mii, SKODA Citigo seemed good candidates. They’re siblings made in the same factory, much like the Toyota Aygo/Peugeot 107/Citroen C1 cars. Same chassis, same enormous boots (compared to the Aygo), slightly different styling and options. All three have eco-models with Stop/Start technology that should save fuel and save the planet.

I test drove two of three variants this morning. The Volkswagen up! was a comfortable ride, light steering, nippy. Feels like a much larger car. Its downside was the garish dash – the demonstration model (an up! white) had a bright white dashboard to match the outer white paintwork. Sun glasses would be required to sit in it for a long ride. The Volkswagen badge on the front also pushes up the price.

All three cars have the option of a top-of-dash mounted GPS that also provides Bluetooth support. It’s removable and can be used outside the car. The touch-screen user interface was less than intuitive, though the voice-driven street finding was quite impressive.

The SKODA Citigo was an identical drive. Minor differences in the less in-your-face dashboard. Lots of difference in the price (lower) and options (better grouped). At school we told SKODA jokes. But it felt like a very solid car that I wouldn't be ashamed to own.


If anyone fancies sponsoring a blogger with a car for a year - not expecting any offers! - I’ll put up my hand for a SKODA Citigo SE, 5 door, GreenTech with a Convenience Pack (ie, parking sensors), Safety Pack, GPS and a spare wheel. And if winters are going to continue to feature snow, throw in a Winter Pack to heat the mirrors and front seats.

But back to reality. Neither dealer was going to have a five door car in stock before my Aygo needed its MOT on 1 August. And it wasn’t going to pass its MOT unless the clutch was fixed.

This whole vehicular crisis was born out of needing a new clutch. Over lunch it dawned on me that really all I needed was a new clutch, not a new car!

While a relatively expensive repair, it is a lot cheaper than a new car. And while a Citigo with a whizzy GPS and an engine that cuts out at traffic lights would be fun to drive, with a new clutch the old Aygo would still turn on a sixpence and could be “driven into the ground” as I stated when I bought it. After all, the Polo lasted with me and then Cheryl for eleven years.

So hopefully the clutch will be fixed next week – before it burns out – and the wee blue Aygo can be driven round for another few years before I need to go on another test drive spree.

But if you’re looking a small ‘city’ car, can I wholeheartedly recommend a SKODA Citigo SE GreenTech (with three years free servicing if bought before the end of September) from the very friendly sales staff at Mervyn Stewart on the Boucher Road. They came so close to selling me a car!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you have listed the faults of the Aygo, the crunching reverse and first to second force... These could be remedied by the new clutch as well. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Can't beat that new car smell! :)

Brighton said...

If any one looking for small car for city then i suggest Maruti Suzuki Alto because of its good design and best in mileage it makes a best car for any city.

Car Clutch

Used car reviews said...

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Anonymous said...

I have an Aygo and thought I needed a new clutch (31,000 miles and four years old). A local garage told me it was worn, but adjusted it and it has been fine since. He said there is a lot on the net about them needing new clutches, so people are expecting a big bill and garages are happy to oblige. He said he has adjusted loads and they rarely fail soon after.