When GM unveiled the "Triplets" in New York last month, they were designed to showcase what a new Chevy-branded city car might look like, and to gauge interest for such a vehicle here in the States (in this regard, the Beat concept seems to be winning people over). In Europe, city cars are an established market segment, and GM has now unveiled its newest entrant into the class, the Agila. Set to be sold under the Opel and Vauxhall banners, the 5-door will get its pomp-and-circumstance intro this September in Frankfurt and hit European showrooms next spring.
Based on the Suzuki Swift platform, the diminutive 5-seater can be configured to haul up to 40 cubic feet of cargo (with the rear seats flipped down) and will be available with a trio of economy-minded small engines. A 1.0L 65-horsepower three-cylinder will serve as the base, paired with a 5-speed manual. The top engine offered will be a 1.2-liter four with 86 horses and an optional automatic transmission. Finally, a 1.3L diesel will round out the range and stake out the middle ground in terms of power, delivering 75 ponies along with a healthy 140 lb-ft of torque. The car's styling is current and eye-catching, and it has a simple, clean interior.
The Chevy Triplets are (for now, at least) just design studies. This is the real deal -- so much so that in Europe, the car you see above will be sold as the Chevy Beat, according to 4Car. (Beat will replace the current Chevy/Daewoo Matiz.) Suzuki will also offer a rebadged version built in Hungary as the Splash (more on that later today).
So, would you pony up for a city car if GM offered us something like this (we're starting to feel like it just got a lot more likely)? It'd probably be quite inexpensive and plenty economical. The power numbers shouldn't scare anyone off, either. This writer remembers driving a 74-horsepower 1983 Audi 4000S 4E through his teens and into college. That number was plenty adequate then, and we imagine that in a smaller car, it'd be perfectly usable today as well. Weigh in below!
PRESS RELEASE (OPEL):
Flex in the City: The New Opel Agila Generation
Urban mini-monocab balances versatility with stylish design
Rüsselsheim. When it comes to the lifestyle of active women today, the watchword is balance. Job, fitness, shopping, meeting friends and getting around – a car makes everything easier to manage, and preferably one that is as versatile as its owner. This is precisely what designers and engineers had in mind when developing the latest generation Opel Agila. The result is a stylish urban car which is compact and maneuverable for tight parking spaces, yet boasts an interior that is spacious enough even for bulky sport and hobby gear. It also has enough seats to ensure comfort for family and friends.
Even with its compact length of 3.74 meters, the new Agila offers room for five occupants and provides them with easy entry through the four doors. The quality of the materials, a fresh interior and exterior color collection, versatile storage compartments and ample headroom project a feel-good ambience right from the word go. The enjoyable driving experience is enhanced by details such as the separate rev counter on the instrument panel, high placed gear stick and remote controls on the steering wheel for the radio. The high seating position makes getting into and out of the Agila easier and ensures good visibility even in heavy urban traffic. The rear seat backs can be folded down at a flick of the wrist to create a completely flat load floor, with a compartment beneath providing additional storage space. In total, the Agila has a luggage capacity of more than 1100 liters accessible through its large trunk lid – the top figure in this segment. The new Agila also comes with a safety package comprising four airbags, as well as optional Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and head curtain airbags.
New engines with up to 86 hp (two lively gasoline engines and a top-of-the-line common-rail diesel for high pulling power) combine performance with low emissions. As an alternative to the standard manual transmission, an automatic gearbox is also available – a distinctive feature in this class. The second-generation Opel Agila makes its world premiere at the IAA in Frankfurt (September 13 – 23, 2007) and will be available at dealerships as of next spring.
Opinions on new Agila
Hans Demant, Opel Managing Director: "The new Agila cuts a fine figure in all situations. Its agile chassis and lively engines make it fun to drive - with low consumption and CO2 levels."
Belinda Müller, Designer: "The boring days are over. Who says a nimble urban car can't also look cool? A wide selection of fresh colors and bold styles create an ambience that's enhanced even more by the spacious headroom."
Sara Nicholson, Opel European Marketing Manager: "The Agila, the new Baby-Opel, is a clever package of fun and versatility for the girl about town."
Characteristics of new Agila:
* Design: Modern five-door urban mini-monocab with flowing lines, dynamic roofline, typical friendly Opel face and design, balanced proportions (length/width/height: 3.74/1.68/1.59 m) despite compact dimensions
* Interior: Versatile five-seater, high seating position provides good visibility, high placed gear stick in center console, large distinctive round instrument, rev counter in separate housing, fresh colors including orange and blue for fabrics, center console and instrument panel edging, height-adjustable steering wheel with remote controls, height-adjustable front seats, numerous compartments, 60:40 split fold-down rear bench seat, flat load floor with additional storage compartment beneath
* Chassis: Newly developed chassis for agile handling, front axle mounted to subframe, semi-independent rear suspension, large wheels up to 15-inch
* Engines: Two new lively gasoline units (1.0 l/65 hp with five-speed manual transmission, 1.2 l/86 hp also available with automatic gearbox), one economical and powerful common-rail direct-injection diesel unit (1.3 l/75 hp, 190 Nm), available with diesel particulate filter
* Safety: Front and side airbags, driver safety belt warning signal and front passenger airbag can be deactivated as standard, also available: head curtain airbags and ESP
PRESS RELEASE (VAUXHALL)
FLEX IN THE CITY: THE NEW AGILA
* All-new Agila with stylish looks inside and out
* Five door and five seats as standard
* Diesel and auto versions offered for first time
Small is beautiful; especially for drivers who live, work or play in the city. But while the ideal urban runaround needs to be compact in order to slot into the urban landscape, a tiny interior might put the squeeze on your social life.
Which is why the new Agila is set to be hot in the city. Set for a launch in spring 2008, Vauxhall's new baby is small enough to be manoeuvrable in tight parking spaces yet will offer the flexibility of five doors and five seats as standard. There's enough luggage space to embarrass cars in the class above too, providing plenty of room for the busiest of lifestyles.
It's not only the space which will rival bigger, more expensive models. Buyers no longer expect small cars to be budget cars, and the new Agila's styling and interior quality mean it could be considered a fashion accessory in the same way as a pair of trainers, a handbag or an iPod.
The clever design allows for plenty of storage spaces inside and the tall roofline provides an airy, spacious feel. It also allows a high seating position, making it easy to get in and out of the Agila and ensure good visibility even in heavy urban traffic.
For those occasions when owners need to carry furniture rather than friends, the rear seat backs can be folded down to create a completely flat load floor. In total the new Agila has a luggage capacity of 1150 litres - the best in this sector.
To complement the dynamic looks and all-new chassis, the Agila will offer three new engines and an automatic gearbox will be available for the first time. The two petrol units are expected to be the top sellers; a 1.0-litre three-cylinder with 65PS and a
1.2-litre four-cylinder with 86PS. The larger unit is available with an automatic gearbox, an option which is expected to be popular with urban dwellers.
For anyone with an eye on economy and the environment though, the new diesel is expected to be the top choice. The 1.3-litre CDTi, as seen in the Corsa, offers 75PS and exceptional performance while sipping fuel.
To prove that small can also be safe, the new Agila comes with a safety package comprising four airbags, as well as an optional Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
New Agila will make its debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September and will arrive in the UK early next year. Prices and full specifications will be revealed nearer the launch.