- We like...Space, looks, drive
- We don't...Expensive diesel versions
Street-smart new Vauxhall is roomy for its size, and it's a doddle to drive, tooThe old Agila wasn’t much fun. Sturdy, yes. Cheap to run, certainly. But when it came to supplying a laugh, the old slab-sided mini-MPV was short on jokes. Vauxhall, however, is determined that the new one’ll be different.
While the latest Agila has the same practical take on life as before, loading up four plus driver and still leaving space for a little shopping, it now also drives gamely enough to set you grinning. And some of Vauxhall’s cabin colourways will tickle your funny-bone, too. Black and orange seats, anyone, with matching ‘halo’ around the centre dash? Or you can have the same deal, except with bright, bright blue. These colour choices look better than they sound, particularly if you pick paint colours carefully. Black outside, black and orange inside looks sharp, though we have doubts on whether it’ll still look as fresh after a year or two. Ditto pale blue paint with blue/black seats. A grey/black cabin is also an option, and the safe bet.
At £7595 for the entry-level 1.0 Expression, the Agila is one of the cheapest five-seaters around: most others at that price have space, and three-point belts, for only four. And the cheapest Agila’s good for the money, though the 1.0 motor turns breathless when you show it a sizeable hill, and you’ll get used to winding your own windows and locking each door. Its 120g/km CO2 figure just squeezes you into cheap road tax and also lets you off the London Congestion Charge. All told, though, we think you’ll be better off finding an extra £1300 to jump an engine size and a trim level to the £8895 1.2 Club. This model whirrs along sweetly, its 85bhp proving more than enough to tackle an incline, while this Agila also has remote locking and electric windows, plus a rev counter in a funny little pod atop the dash. You don’t need this because you can hear what the engine’s up to, although it’s a sound we quite like. The third engine available is a 1.3 diesel also fitted to the Corsa and indeed Fiat Panda. It’s easily the most powerful, but the extra you’ll pay for an Agila fitted with one only makes money sense if you intend to cdrive huge mileages. Go for the top-level Design and you’ll get alloy wheels as standard, plus air conditioning and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
There’s good space for passengers, especially when you think that this car is shorter than a Vauxhall Corsa. Its roof is a few centimetres lower than the old one’s but there’s still more height than you’ll ever need unless you’re well over 6ft. Three across the back seat is a squeeze on anything longer than a hop into town. The Agila is a doddle to drive, its big screen, quick steering and gearshift set close to you making a trickle through town relatively pleasant. For such a little car, It smoothes the bumps adeptly. The interior is smart and there’s a sensible number of stowage spaces , although the plastic on the doors and glove box is hard and coarse, reflecting the car’s low price. There’s a good stereo/CD but nowhere to connect your iPod. And, if you need to haul rubbish to the tip, the rear seats drop neatly.
Vauxhall plans to sell 4000 Agilas this year and we reckon they’ll manage that easily. It’s a great little bus and one we think will find plenty of new owners. A word to the wise, though: before signing the cheque, check out also Suzuki’s new Splash. It’s the same car, badges, trim and a body panel or two excepting.
- Engines1.0, 1.2 1.3 CDTi
- 0-60 mph14.7sec, 12.3sec, 13
- Economy56.5mpg, 5
- CO2g/km120g/km, 131g/km, 120g/km
- Insurance groups1-4
Motors.co.uk value verdict: