Vauxhall Agila (2007): first official pictures

Published: 14 May 2007

That’s actually quite a cool looking little car…

That’s the idea. Vauxhall’s raft of design-led new cars continues with the Agila. Out goes the Postman Pat looks of Luton’s previous dullard and in comes sleek and sohpisticated lines. The five-door-only Agila certainly a looker. ‘That almost vertical front end gives the Agila a tough and robust look,’ says Opel design director Mark Adams. ‘And yet its friendly face and open-eyed headlamps give it that cute character which is so vital in this market sector.’ Sitting on the same platform as the Suzuki Swift (the Agila is again a joint-venture with Suzuki, which in turn will produce its own Splash supermini) arrives here early next year with the choice of diesel and petrol power. The petrol range kicks off with a 65bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol hooked up to a five-speed manual, followed by an 86bhp 1.2-litre fourpot with a four-speed automatic. The clever money however goes on the 75bhp 1.3-litre CDTi turbo diesel that comes with a particulate trap as standard. There will be no VXR model – Vauxhall claims the sales numbers didn’t stack up to justify the investment. Pity…

Looks nifty on the inside too

Yes, much like the excellent cabin of the current Corsa, the Agila majors on bold lines, neat detailing, packaging intelligence and high spec levels. As with the old Agila, you sit high and face a simple round central speedo and a neat high-mounted centre console that’s flanked by body-coloured ‘wings’ on the symmetrical dashboard. Upper spec models will get aircon, a multi-function steering wheel and an MP3-compatible six-speaker stereo, and Vauxhall has swiped Smart’s periscope rev-counter for itself. And standard safety specification includes four airbags and anti-lock brakes, which can be toped up with optional curtain bags and stability control.

Small on the outside, big on the inside?

Of course. Despite its dinky dimensions – 3740mm long, 1680 wide and 1590mm high – Vauxhall claims the Agila will be a full five seater, and its 40:60 split rear seats fold down flat into the boot with just a simple lever pull to create a huge 1100litre load bay, easily the biggest in class. No three-door model is planned. Prices will kick off around the £7000 mark, which means there will be a fair amount of overlaps between the Agila and new Corsa as it takes on its new Ford Ka, Renault Twingo and Fiat 500 rivals. Vauxhall’s marketing suits believe the Agila will have strong appeal to city drivers looking for a second congestion-friendly car or previous-model Corsa owners who find the new Corsa too large for their needs. Cool enough to take on the Twingo, Ka and 500 or something your Nan would like? Tell us your thoughts by clicking on the ‘Add Comment’ button below…

And this is the slighty duller looking Suzuki version?

Correct. This is the first time that Suzuki has entered this market sector, but the rather idiotically named Splash is a good place to start. Built in Hungary, the Splash will share the Agila’s petrol and diesel powertrain line-up. It may not have the funkier looks of its Luton partner, but the Splash will counter with much higher levels of standard safety kit – expect six airbags, electronic stability and anti-lock as standard. Suzuki expect to sell 60,000 Splashes across Europe in it first full year. Would you buy a Suzuki over a Vauxhall, or would the Agila’s snappier looks seal the deal? Tell us how important you think style and badge snobbery at this level really is. Click the ‘Add Comment’ button and start typing…

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars

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