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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For Great interior space for such a small car, supple ride

Against Underpowered, not great to drive and equipment isn’t generous

Verdict Slow but roomy and practical for its size

Go for… Entry-level 1.0-litre

Avoid… The 1.2

Vauxhall Agila MPV
  • 1. Clutches can give out as early as 50,000 miles
  • 2. The central locking is prone to failure
  • 3. Clonks from the suspension are common, but they're generally easy to cure
  • 4. There's lots of headroom and plenty of legroom in the rear
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Vauxhall Agila MPV full review with expert trade views

The Agila is very much a city car for people with practicality in mind. Above all, it only takes up a tiny amount of road, meaning you can park it just about anywhere.

Despite these tiny dimensions, though, its MPV-like styling means that interior space is better than in the majority of city cars. There’s lots of headroom and the upright seating position means adults shouldn’t struggle for legoom in the back. The boot is a useful size, too.

This design has its price, though, because the Agila isn’t much fun to drive - the engines are weak and the handling is stodgy. That said, the ride is pretty good, coping admirably with pot-holed city streets. Refinement would be pretty good, too, if it wasn't for the noise of the rowdy engines.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Practical and cheap used buy. Avoid 1.0 models. Wagon R better buy

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Two engines, both petrol, are available. A 57bhp 1.0-litre is the entry-level motor, and this feels out of its depth on all but urban roads. Gutless performance means it takes its time to reach cruising speeds and, once you get there, it drones annoyingly.

Sadly, the 1.2-litre alternative doesn’t fare much better. It’s a bit quicker to accelerate, but it’s still slow and doesn’t feel much more settled at speed than the 1.0-litre, which becomes our reluctant choice, albeit only by default.

The trim levels are a confusing business. At the Agila’s 2000 launch, both engines came in standard specification with equipment including power steering, driver's airbag and electric mirrors.

Then, in 2002, the standard 1.0 was renamed the Expression, and the 1.2 became available in Club and Design trim. Club came with remote central locking and twin front airbags, while Design added air-conditioning, a CD player and electric front windows. The Club was renamed the Enjoy in mid 2003.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Enjoying a surge of popularity so values up, 1.2 Club best for retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru

There’s no getting away from it, the Agila is quite pricey for a city car. And, the price becomes even more unpalatable when you consider how poorly equipped it is next to some cheaper rivals.

The Agila’s roominess is its main asset, but the Suzuki Wagon R+, which is mechanically identical to the Agila, provides all the same space for significantly less money. True, the Wagon R+ doesn’t have the same supple ride as the Agila, but the ride isn’t worth the extra cash you’ll part with to get it.

Purchase price aside, running an Agila isn't too dear, and fuel economy, for example, isn’t bad whichever engine you choose. The 1.0-litre will return an average of 44.8mpg, while the 1.2 isn’t far behind on 43.5mpg.

Insurance bills will be low, too. Buyers of the 1.0 will pay a group 2 premium, while the 1.2 has a group 3 classification.

Servicing will be cheap, too, because routine maintenance needs to be carried out only every 20,000 miles.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Practical and cheap used buy. Avoid 1.0 models. Wagon R better buy

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Vauxhall has a fairly unspectacular record on reliability, usually achieving mid-table respectability in our regular reliability surveys.

It always pays to be cautious, though. Clutches on the Agila need to be watched as they can give out as early as 50,000 miles, and the central locking is prone to failures, too. So, if your chosen car has it, check it’s working properly.

Suspension clonks are also common on the Agila, but there’s no need to panic unduly if your chosen car is afflicted. Usually, new bushes or a generous application of grease is enough to solve the problem.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Enjoying a surge of popularity so values up, 1.2 Club best for retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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