- We like...Space, equipment, price
- We don't...No iPod jack
Suzuki's city car is roomy, smooth-riding and a laugh to drive. It's also keen valueSuzuki Splash, or Vauxhall Agila? When car makers co-develop a new model then each sell their own version, it leaves would-be buyers scratching their heads. Let us help here.
First, whichever you buy, you’re on to a winner. The Agila/Splash is a really good car, easy to drive, tough-looking and cheap to own. It’s remarkable because it packs a big airy cabin into less road space than a small car, like a Vauxhall Corsa, occupies. There’s room for four, five at a squeeze, still leaving boot space for a £100 grocery shop or a couple of suitcases.
Inside and out, the two cars are very alike. The engines, suspension and cabins are near-identical, so there’s little to pick between them in what you see, feel and hear. Even the Suzuki’s odd ‘plik-plok’ direction indicator tell-tale is also there in the Vauxhall. Differences are limited to makers’ badges, seat fabrics, and the nose and tailgate panels. And exactly what’s aboard for your money varies – but we’ll come to that later.
Looks are a personal thing, but for us the Suzuki’s sawn-off front works less well than the Vauxhall’s silver grille and gently peaked bonnet. That aside, if you must have bright orange seat panels and a centre dash surround to match, you’ll need the Agila. If you want turquoise seats and the body painted to match, pick either. If either sounds too wild, grey and black seats can be had in either.
There are more Agilas to pick from, because you can get one with a 1.0-litre motor, as well as the 1.2 petrol engine or the 1.3 diesel you can choose for either car. But that’s no real advantage. While the Agila 1.0 costs only £7595, it struggles and puffs tackling a hill. The 1.2, meanwhile, has enough shove to get you up there comfortably.
Whichever you pick, the 1.2’s the one to have, not least because it covers up to 51mpg. There’s a 1.3 turbodiesel that’ll go up to 10 miles further. But it adds £1500 to the price for either car, so you’ll have to drive for years before you recoup the extra.
So far, and there’s nothing to pick between the two. But the clincher comes as you compare the equipment list for the two rivals. The cheapest Splash is the 1.2 GLS, costing £8999. It’s got pretty much everything you’d want as standard, including remote locking, powered front windows and a decent stereo radio/CDl. Vauxhall’s 1.2 Agila Club has all this and weighs in at £8895, so it’s £104 cheaper. But the Splash counters with an extra pair of airbags, traction control, air conditioning and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, none of which the Agila has unless you pick and pay for them.
So it is that the Splash appears as the clear leader. But there’s one more thing to think on. Suzuki has 150 dealers across Britain and Vauxhall about 500. If your Suzuki man or woman is local and seems a decent sort, then go ahead. But if Vauxhall is handier, and they’ll do a sweet deal, that’s where we’d go.
- Engines1.2, 1.3 CDTi
- Power85bhp, 74bhp
- 0-60 mph12.3sec, 13.9sec
- Economy51.4mpg, 6
- CO2g/km131, 120
- Insurance groups3-4
Motors.co.uk value verdict: