Here's a quick way of disenfranchising half your potential customers: Vauxhall says that the new Agila city car is for women.
And while this might seem like the kind of sexism that went out with Brut 33 and gold medallions, what Vauxhall is really trying to say is that the new Agila is a lot prettier than the box on wheels that proceeded it.
The Agila is sister car to the new Suzuki Splash, itself the replacement for the sorrowful and square-edged Wagon R. However Suzuki, which carried out the design and engineering on the project, said its car couldn’t be considered a direct successor to the Wagon R, which was developed for the Japanese market.
“The splash’s design is mainly tailored to the requirements of European customers,” said a Suzuki engineer.
That means that the new Agila will be a much more European product as well, as the two cars are mechanically and structurally identical. The only differences are mild sheet metal changes to the front and rear, and different lights. The interior, with its body-coloured dash panels, is significantly more modern than the previous car’s.
Both cars get three engine choices — a pair of petrols and one diesel. The entry-level unit is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol producing 64bhp and 66lb ft, and there’s a 1.2-litre four-cylinder with 74bhp and 84lb ft. The diesel option is GM’s 1.3-litre four-cylinder unit used in the Corsa, with 74bhp and 140lb ft. It returns 56mpg.
None of these engines make for quick cars — the 1.0-litre reaches 62mph in 14.8sec, the 1.2 in 12.0sec and the diesel in 13.5sec. The 1.2 will be available with a four-speed auto; the others come with a five-speed manual. Suspension is MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear.