How the Aston Martin Cygnet Works

Aston Martin Cygnet Design

The Aston Martin logo
The Aston Martin logo
Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

"Cygnet" is the word for a juvenile swan, and as the name for a car it evokes ideas of a small but sophisticated motor coach. One might expect it to boast a direct pedigree of one of the world's most exclusive car makers.

Instead, the Cygnet is something of an automotive adoptee. In terms of overall body shape, the Cygnet's Toyota iQ roots are clearly evident. It uses classic commuter-car proportions of short wheelbase, small-diameter wheels, small engine bay and tiny cabin to be ideal for the type of driving most city dwellers face.

As much fun as it looks in the car commercials (and Bond movies) to go zooming freely through scenic countryside in a high-performance machine, that's not what the majority of people deal with -- at least, those who live in and around cities. In Europe, where the Cygnet is first going on sale, that's even more the case. Narrow city streets, limited parking and highly-taxed petrol (gasoline) make small cars like the MINI Cooper or now, the Cygnet, much more practical than the larger vehicles Americans have tended to favor.

While it may be a Toyota underneath, Aston Martin has grafted on enough design cues to make the vehicle unmistakably its own. The most obvious piece of Aston Martin style is the Cygnet's wide, almost menacing front grill. If that wasn't enough to keep heaps of fresh air rushing in to cool the Cygnet's engine, a pair of small hood louvers are there to move even more air (though they're likely more for ornamentation than anything else). The Cygnet also gets its share of minor bodywork meant to reference other cars in the Aston Martin lineup.