16 April 2004

Vauxhall’s slow-selling Agila city car is being repackaged, restyled and reinvented as Britain’s most affordable MPV. The current version is little more than a rebadged version of Suzuki’s ‘tallboy’ Wagon R+, and its European appeal is heavily restricted by its petrol-only engine range.

However, the next-generation model will feature a more European look when it goes on sale at the end of 2006, as well as a pair of high-tech diesels.

Officials claim they are trying to cap prices at today’s levels. Which means a potential entry point of just £6000.

Positioned beneath the Corsa/Astra-derived Meriva MPV in the so-called ‘A-to-B’ segment, the new Agila is said by one senior insider to be ‘in the vein of what the Ford Fusion could have been.’

The new front-drive platform is being co-developed with fellow GM subsidiary Suzuki.Inside is a ‘functional, four-plus-one seat interior with a lot more luggage space.’ A flexible seating system similar in concept to the Meriva’s Flex4 set-up is under consideration, as is the ingenious pantograph-hinge-based sliding door design from the Insignia and Trixx concepts (right).

Three diesel and two petrol units are expected at launch and a new CVT is also rumoured. A stepless auto is also likely to be launched on the Vectra this year.

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