Little Vauxhall has a lot going on

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Don’t be fooled by the ecoFLEX branding on certain Vauxhall Agila models.

There are no efficiency modifications made to the cars.

Fortunately, that doesn’t matter one jot as the Agila is green enough to gain entry to the ecoFLEX club unmolested and remains a cohesive and enjoyable small car product.

Good to drive, solidly built and roomy, it’s let down a little by engine noise and an expensive diesel option.

Two of the Agila’s engine options qualify for ecoFLEX status. The first is the entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine with its modest 64bhp output.

The second is the always impressive 1.3-litre CDTi diesel which has 74bhp and more than twice as much torque, produced far lower in the rev range.

It might be tempting for customers to feel short-changed by the lack of modifications made to the Agila in order for it to gain ecoFLEX status but the skinny tyres, longer gearing and engine remaps applied to other green specials don’t do a lot for the driving experience.

That’s especially true in city cars which do a lot of stop/start urban driving at low speeds.

Unmolested by such eco-tweakery, the Agila remains a fun car to drive.

The 1.0-litre engine can run out of steam when shown a steep incline or asked to take to the motorway network but it’s fine in the urban sprawl.

The diesel is more of an all-rounder, with a punchy low end that makes it feel faster than the 13.3-second 0-60mph time suggests.

The five-speed gearbox is pleasant to use with its robust, positive action and the steering has a reassuring weight to it.

The tall shape of the Agila means it leans more than some city cars in corners but not too much and there’s plenty of grip at the front wheels.

The Agila is built for Vauxhall by Suzuki which has the almost identical Splash model on its books. The car’s tall shape is disguised well by a foursquare stance with the wheels pushed right out to the extremities of the vehicle and a relatively high waistline.

The rear seat backs can also be folded down to create a totally flat load floor, serving up a total of 1,150 litres of available space, which is amongst the best of any city car.

The hip point for the front seat has been deliberately set high to make getting in and out of the car easy, offering a commanding view of the road and taking advantage of that high roofline.

The presence of ecoFLEX badging on a Vauxhall would usually suggest some work has been done beneath the skin to enhance its green credentials. With the Agila ecoFLEX, it’s a different story, Vauxhall having decided to leave well enough alone.

The Agila ecoFLEX is like any other Agila, one of the leading small cars currently on sale and impressively cheap to get about in.

The Agila is well built and thoughtfully designed with a rewarding driving experience thanks to the solid feel and well-weighted controls. ecoFLEX or not, the little Vauxhall has plenty gong for it.