Room for Pleasure
With the previous Vauxhall Agila, everything was about space. From minimal exterior dimensions Vauxhall created maximum interior space. The driving characteristics and design were good, but were placed second. Now, the roles have been switched. Driving pleasure is in first place. Since the Agila has increased in size considerably (20 cm longer, 6 cm wider), this fun looking car offers even more space than its predecessor.
Just as with the previous Agila, Vauxhall has worked together with Suzuki. Suzuki sells the same car under the name "Splash". Suzuki developed the engines and the suspension of both cars. Vauxhall has given the Agila a little bit of individuality with a different front, tailgate and rims. In particular, those large, roguish headlights will on first encounter trigger a spontaneous smile.
Also the equipment differs slightly from the Suzuki Splash. The Vauxhall Agila has adjustable front seats, side airbags and lighting in the rear of the car. Vauxhall has covered the interior of the Agila with a colourful fabric subtly decorated with the letters "A G I L A". In comparison to the Suzuki, the headrests in the rear do not block the visibility in the rear view mirror. Moreover, the bright orange finish of the dashboard looks very good against the pearly white test car.
Due to the high roof line, the compact Agila offers an easy entry and a lot of interior space. Even taller drivers have more than enough headroom! The windshield has been placed extremely far forward to enhance the sensation of space. Although the interior is equipped with all usual compartments, boxes and drawers, this is no more than the average.
In the rear, the headroom is once again overwhelming, however the legroom is nothing more than sufficient. Moreover there are no storage compartments; a missed opportunity.
Even so the back seat is the secret weapon of the Agila. Vauxhall advertises it with the slogan "Flex in the City", indicating that the Agila can be transformed from a four-seater family car to a two-seater delivery van. The rear seat can literally be folded down in a flick of the wrist, with the luggage space increasing from large to massive (1,050 litres). Removing the headrests or the seat base isn't necessary; some estate cars require more work to fold away the rear seat!
The baggage space has been well finished, doesn't have a loading lip, has a flat loading floor and thanks to the large trunk lid is easily reachable. Under the loading floor, there is still more extra storage space to safely store delicate items separately from larger luggage. Unfortunately Vauxhall's famous "Flex-Fix" integrated bicycle rack is lacking which is a really deficiency in such a car.
The new Agila is larger than a “micro MPV" (previously the Agila), but slightly smaller than a midi MPV (Vauxhall Meriva). Consequently the Agila can do with a smaller engine, which of course makes this car much more economical to purchase and run!
The most economic engine measures 1.0 litre and has only three cylinders. This is one cylinder less than usual, which makes this basic model particularly efficient. Vauxhall promises an average consumption of 56 mpg. A test with a lot of motorway miles realised 55 mpg. In the city, this efficiency miracle consumed in reality a civilised 1 litre lead-free to 16.4 kilometres (46 mpg).
Unfortunately this engine delivers little power at low revs, resulting in the car feeling slow initially. When more power is delivered, the promised 65 bhp comes to life and the performance is extremely deserving.
The 1.2 litre four cylinder engine provides 21 bhp more. In the city or around the suburbs, this is not particularly noticeable. Also this engine has to be egged on to show off its capabilities. On the motorway and while overtaking, the 1.2 is noticeably stronger than the basic engine. Also in hilly locations the 1.2 performs considerably better. Moreover this 1.2 litre engine runs slightly more refined which gives the car a more mature feeling.
As previously said the driving pleasure is for this new generation Agila in first place. The car is longer and broader, but not higher (-10 cm); consequently it's considerably more stable and quieter on the road. Due to the good sound insulation the noise of the engine, tyres or wind barely penetrate the interior. The Agila is no longer just a “clever box"; this is a comfortable, fully fledged car.
To guarantee the necessary driving pleasure, the Agila has a sporty undertone. The speed dependent power steering is not unfeelingly light, but slightly heavier and more direct than usual in this segment. This takes a little getting used to as a high car such as this inclines easily which initially results in an uncertain feeling.
The longer the test ride, the more you begin to have faith in the Agila. With its compact exterior measurements the Agila is extremely practical in the city. Filtering into the traffic is child's play: parking can be done to the squared centimetre. Overall the Agila is quick and handy to drive around the city: you could even just say “agile".
A World of Difference! The previous Agila was a clever little box where practical possibilities were first. Appearance and driving qualities came second. Now the roles have been switched.
The new Agila is larger than its predecessor and drives considerable better. The car is more stable, mature and quieter. The new engine performs sufficiently; it's quiet and in particular very economical. What remains the same is an extremely well thought-out, manageable, spacious car which will put a smile on the face of every driver!