Review: Vauxhall Agila (2008 – 2014)

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Surprisingly spacious small five-door city car. Makes best sense with 1.0 petrol engine. Much better than old Agila. Rebadged version of Suzuki Splash.

Competition is strong and little to recommend the Agila over the likes of the Hyundai i10.

Vauxhall Agila (2008 – 2014): At A Glance

All-new Vauxhall Agila, basically the same as Suzuki Splash,

Vauxhall Agila 2008 Road Test

Also: Suzuki Splash 2009 Road Test and Video

Looking for a Vauxhall Agila (2008 - 2014)?
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What does a Vauxhall Agila (2008 – 2014) cost?

What's the Vauxhall Agila (2008 – 2014) like to drive?

If a manufacturer asked us ladies to design a car suitable for our needs what would we put at the top of our shopping list?

For me, I would start with a head turning exterior to annoy the neighbours. I do not want the car to be too big thus being accused of damaging our dooming environment. I love metallic paint as it is cleans up well and vibrant colours are a must.

The interior would have to be spacious with lots of oddments to store safely, personal effects. To be quite honest, I am not a huge fan on complicated in-car gadgetry. A decent CD player and air conditioning will suffice. I need space for the children in the back without stumping their growth. With my precious cargo on board, the car has to be full of safety features.

As I clock up many miles each week, the car will have to be good in the fuel consumption stakes. Being a cost conscious purse string holder, I would prefer a car with low insurance group, low VED band and or course, low CO2 emissions. Finally, the luggage area must be able to accommodate the weekly shop.

A tall order? Quite possibly. However, the good news is I have found such a car.

The new Vauxhall Agila designed for women in mind. The line up simply comprises of three trims, Expression, mated to a 1.0 litre petrol engine. Club has the option of the same engine in addition to a 1.2 petrol plus a 1.3 diesel. Top of the range is Design, with either the 1.2 petrol or a 1.3 diesel. All Agilas are five door variants on a five speed manual gearbox with the automatic an option on the 1.2 Club or Design.

Cheltenham was the chosen destination for the launch of the Agila to emphasis the flexibility this car now boasts. Showing off its true city status, the Agila eased its way in and out of this wonderful shopping town effortlessly. Out on the glorious open roads of the surrounding countryside, the Agila emphasised its durability.

Call me a girlie or what, but the most noticeable thing that immediately struck me when I saw the Agilas all lined up outside the Hotel de Vin, was the striking exterior colours. Moroccan blue was my favourite; a kind of baby blue followed swiftly by Lemon Grass that is a pale minty green.

Some exterior colours are extended into the interior on the seats; door panels and central console trim making them look really funky. Just be sure to wear sunglasses when you see the Sunset Orange! The new Agila has certainly matured in looks and falls into a new category called monocab. This design maximises space and practicality, yet maintains driver appeal and a distinctive character

Thanks to the high roofline and uniform arrangement of glass, the interior of the Agila is a very bright spacious place to be in with plenty of head, leg and elbowroom. Entry level Expression is pretty basic and comes with a CD player.

Despite its small dimensions, the Agila is packed with useful storage solutions so we can shop till we drop. If we need more space to hide our secret purchases the Agila comes with an innovative new feature. A 35-litre hidden storage space under the load floor of Club and Design models that can be removed if required.

At launch all three engines were available to drive. I started in the 1.2 litre petrol and was very impressed at the uptake plus the way it maintained the speed on the open roads. This engine sprints from 0-62mph in 12.3 seconds, has a top speed of 109 mph with fuel consumption standing in at 51.4 mpg on a combined cycle. CO2 emissions are 131g/km.

The Agila has never had a diesel engine before but shares the same 1.3 litre CDTi that made its debut in the Corsa. This boasts great fuel consumption at 62.8 mpg on a combined cycle and CO2 emissions are slashed at 120k/gm meaning a VED cost of just £35 per year. However, I found it rather noisy and not as punchy as the 1.2 litres. Despite this, it has to be an ideal candidate for the cost conscious motorist.

So will the frugal 1.0 litre sway me? Well very nearly despite an initial hairdryer effect. But once it got going, you almost forgot it was just a 1.0 litre. This engine is the most fuel efficient at 64.2 mpg on a combined cycle that makes it a tempting contender.

The power assisted steering is lovely and will breeze in and out of those parking bays. But you will equally want to hit the open road for the driving dynamics are very impressive on this new Agila. It boasts a simple yet effective suspension layout that improves handling and ride comfort. ESP is an optional extra across the range at £400.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 12v ecoFLEX 57–60 mpg 14.1–14.7 s 109–119 g/km
1.2 16V 47–55 mpg 11.8–14.2 s 118–142 g/km
1.2 16V Automatic 47–50 mpg 14.0 s 131–133 g/km
1.2 16V ecoFLEX 55 mpg 12.0 s 118–119 g/km
1.3 CDTi 16V 63 mpg 13.3 s 120 g/km
1.3 CDTi 16V ecoFLEX 63 mpg 13.3 s 120 g/km

Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Agila (2008 – 2014)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

33–67 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Vauxhall Agila (2008 – 2014)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Which 5-door, supermini size car with a high seating position can I get for £5000?

My disabled step-daughter is looking for a new car. She has Ehler-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which affects the muscles and joints, so needs something with a higher seating position to make it easier to get in and out of. Five doors are mandatory and she would prefer an automatic – but might be willing to settle on a manual for the right car. We’re thinking something supermini sized and she has a budget of £5000. Are there any cars you would recommend?
By far the best to meet this brief is a Suzuki Splash 1.2 4-speed auto, or the equivalent Vauxhall Agila 1.2 4-speed auto (effectively the same car).
Answered by Honest John
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