Toyota triumphs with two UK Car of the Year titles
On the face of it, the Toyota Aygo X and GR86 are very different machines – one a compact, stylish city car and the other a classic, driver-focused sports coupe. What they have in common today is prize-winning prestige, both being voted category winners in the UK Car of the Year Awards 2023.
Success respectively as Best Small Car and Best Coupe means they now go head-to-head, together with other class winners, for the overall Car of the Year title. The result will be announced on 10 March.
The awards are based on the opinions of a panel of leading British motoring writers and commentators, each of whom has had the opportunity to put the cars through their paces.
Aygo X, an all-new, SUV-style development of Toyota’s highly successful small car, was praised for being “a brilliantly frugal little city car that looks cute and drives very nicely” by Rob Clymo, while Alex Grant remarked on its “appealing balance between class-above motorway manners and light-footed playfulness.” Alisdair Suttie described the hatchback – the entry point to the Toyota range – as “fun, affordable and (bringing) a dash of style to the daily drive.”
GR86 proved an immediate hit when launched last year, the entire allocation of UK models selling out within two hours of order books opening. A classic front-engine/rear-wheel drive coupe, it is a sports car in the classic mould and a more powerful successor to the GT86. Its “GR” designation indicates the influence of Toyota Gazoo Racing in applying competition-bred know-how in the development of ever-better road cars.
The Car of the Year judges maintained the chorus of praise the multi-award-winning model has enjoyed since its arrival, declaring that it’s “more joyous to drive on real roads than almost anything.” Tom Ford added: “Engaging, simple, fun – it’s an enthusiast’s dream car…” For Jonny Smith, this is a “Toyota masterclass” that “brings a grin for the entirety (of time) that there’s fuel in the tank,” while James Batchelor reported that it proves there’s “still a thirst for simple, back-to-basics sports cars.”