Though a small metropolis automotive would possibly seem to be an odd object to topic to a streetwear-branded partnership, there are many precedents of style homes teaming up with auto manufacturers to make extra of a mark on an city viewers. Our favourites embrace Cadillac’s partnership with Gucci again within the late Nineteen Seventies, Karl Lagerfeld’s stealthily sybaritic BMW 7-Sequence from 2000, and the common-or-garden Peugeot 205 Lacoste version, launched in 1985.
Toyota approached the Japanese designer Jun Takahashi, founding father of the Undercover label, so as to add some fashionable zip to its entry-level Aygo X. It is a likeable automotive, an improve of the sooner Aygo, that was given a light-weight fettling in 2022 with the addition of a boosted experience peak and a chunkier stance.
By advantage of it being small, comparatively cheap and straightforward to insure, Toyota has at all times staked the Aygo’s declare to the youth market – it was even given a starring function in its personal manga comedian again when it initially launched in 2014. In fact, the Aygo demographic in all probability skews into extra mature territory, which begs the query as as to whether Takahashi’s take will discover favour.
The designer based Undercover in 1990, rising from Tokyo’s Harajuku district, a cauldron of sub-cultural creation from the late Nineteen Seventies onwards. This was Takahashi’s first automotive mission, and the designer famous how completely different it was to standard clothes collaborations. ‘Fusing collectively two contradicting components, or worlds, is thrilling for me.’
As with all designer editions, little flashes of daring id are scattered across the automotive, inside and outside. We just like the splashes of coral purple on the wheels and contained in the cabin, particularly on the monogram-patterned flooring mats. The seats additionally get Undercover branding, however the addition of two roof decals bearing Takahashi’s Chaos/Stability catchwords err on the aspect of kitsch.
Launched at Paris Style Week S/S 2024, the Undercover version is being restricted to five,000 examples throughout Europe. Strictly petrol solely, the Aygo X is hardly essentially the most high-tech enterprise, neither is it the form of automotive you’d need to recurrently topic to lengthy, lengthy drives. The little 1.0-litre engine struggles on steep gradients and acceleration might be conspicuously absent, even on the extent.
It is a automotive whose character doesn’t depend on raucous sounds or ill-defined luxurious; the operate is by no means compromised by Takahashi’s added extras (one important value choice is the JBL premium audio system, though useful issues just like the wi-fi smartphone charging tray come as customary). The automotive’s small scale provides it a playful spirit, a welcome counterpoint to the relentlessly escalating measurement of virtually the whole lot else. Who is aware of, in a long time to return, the Aygo X Undercover would possibly even discover itself with a cult following of its personal.
Toyota Aygo X Undercover, from £20,095, Toyota.co.uk