Johannesburg - Usually carmakers do their best to make sure everybody knows about new models, bombarding the media with releases intended to make us believe that a change in the colour of the upholstery and a slightly different grille is worthy of “all new” banner headlines.

So it came as something of a surprise to find the new Aygo X-Cite cabrio on the Toyota SA website, without so much as a whisper from the marketing mavens.

For once in our lives, instead of having the information handed to us on a platter, we actually had to do some research - and this is what we found out:

The big deal about the X-Cite is that it has an old-school folding canvas roof extending from just above the windshield all the way to the rear spoiler - the first we’ve seen since the launch of the Citroen DS3 Cabriolet five years ago. It is apparently, completely manual in operation and, as such, should add no more than a kilo or two to the car’s weight.

The X-Cite also comes with a number of features not found on its tintop siblings, including stability control, hill hold, LED daytime running lights, a fancy audio display with a colour touchscreen in place of the standard liquid-crystal disply, side curtain airbags, and 15 inch alloys shod with 165/60 radials in place of the usual 14 inch steel rims. The last one, however means that in place of the standard space-saver spare, the X-Cite has to make do with a repair kit.

Mechanically the cabrio is identical to its conventional siblings, with a 998cc petrol three rated at 51kW and 95Nm turning the front wheels via a five-speed manual ‘box, for the same quoted performance figures of 14.2 seconds to 100km/h and 160km/h flat out.

The canvas roof and extra kit will, however, cost you R28 000 more than the higher-specced of the two tintop variants, for a total of R189 500.

FACTS: Toyota Aygo X-Cite

Engine: 1-litre, 3-cylinder turbopetrol
Gearbox: 5-speed Manual
Power: 51kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 95Nm @ 4300rpm
0-100km/h (Claimed): 14.2 seconds
Top speed (Claimed): 160km/h
Price: R189 500
Warranty: 3-year/100 000km
Service plan: Optional extra

IOL Motoring