Toyota Aygo X Prologue concept shows there’s still hope for city cars

City cars are dropping like flies on the European market. Toyota

remains committed to the segment, and it unveiled a concept named Aygo X Prologue to demonstrate how it plans to reinvent its smallest hatchback for the 2020s.

The name immediately announces that the futuristic-looking concept penned by the firm’s French design studio previews the third-generation Aygo. Unsurprisingly, keeping the average buyer interested in cheap and cheerful hatchbacks requires a generous serving of body cladding and a slight suspension lift. The Aygo X Prologue has noticeably more ground clearance than the current Aygo

, and it consequently blurs the line between a city car and a crossover
. Roof rails add an extra dose of rugged flair. Its front end is SUV-like, too, but the glass rear hatch creates an unmistakable visual link between the X Prologue and the first two generations of the Aygo.

Toyota hasn’t published the concept’s technical specifications, but British magazine Autocar learned the next Aygo will continue to offer gasoline-powered engines instead of going electric or adopting a hybrid powertrain. Strict regulations, not demand-related issues, are driving carmakers out of the segment. Making small cars compliant with new pollution norms is horrifically expensive; making them hybrid or electric is, too, so Renault

, Ford, Peugeot, Citroën, and even segment leader Fiat are throwing in the towel. Toyota, on the other hand, sells a large number of hybrid cars
in Europe so it doesn’t have to worry about being fined for its fleet-wide emissions, according to the publication. It can afford to take the hit that comes with offering buyers offer a simple, affordable hatchback.

Front-wheel-drive will come standard, and entry-level models will ship with a manual transmission. Toyota might make an automatic transmission available at an extra cost, or on some of the more upscale trim levels.

The third-generation Toyota Aygo will likely make its debut before the end of 2021. Pricing will start in the vicinity of 15,000 euros (approximately $18,000), though nothing suggests the model will be sold in the United States. As of writing, the Aygo is closely related to the Peugeot 108

and the Citroën C1, and the trio is built under the same roof in the Czech Republic. Peugeot and Citroën recently confirmed that neither model will be replaced, so Toyota will develop the Aygo alone. It will take control of the Czech factory and build the hatchback there on its own, too.

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