BY ANDREW MUZAMHINDO
This cute little car was advertised on DStv end of last year to early this year. The Toyota Agya adverts drenched the airwaves on DStv. You could not have missed them. It stands out among the generic-looking entry-level challengers, and is sure to attract the younger crowd. In an ideal world it would be a student’s car. Nonetheless if you are a small family with no more than two kids, or you are single parent, offerings like the affordable Agya start to look more appealing, especially if you’re looking for a car that’s also cheap to run and easy to park. There is something about it that screams Toyota Vitz when you look at it however it replaces the popular Toyota Etios in the Toyota lineup and promises to be a worthy replacement.
It is a nimble cute car. The Agya is capable of a 360-degree turn without a sweat. And the world is your oyster if you need parking. Agya can squeeze in wherever it pleases.
It’s most certainly larger than the Aygo, especially on the rear bench. There are enough bottle holders for everyone’s drinks and the cubby hole is quite sizeable, allowing one to store phones and wallets along with the rather thick user manual. A plus point is the cheerful seat material. It feels durable and is of a high quality, but is soft to the touch. This material is also echoed in the two front doors.
The boot is decidedly more spacious than the Aygo’s, with sufficient space for a small family’s holiday luggage, or your kids’ school bags and sports equipment. It’s also high enough for a double layer of grocery bags.
The Agya may not have a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto like some of its rivals, but this can be specified at extra cost. Toyota is big on in-car tech and the Agya already has on-board Wi-Fi. You don’t even need to opt for the above-mentioned touchscreen system for full online functionality. As is, the Agya can be had in normal and audio spec; the latter includes a double din radio/CD player with AUX input and a USB port (which works in conjunction with the MyToyota App for your phone). I have plenty of CDs so I love cars that still come with CD players.
Once my Samsung was plugged in, I was able to utilize the Spotify app for music streaming, and as is expected, Bluetooth is standard on this model as well. There are no satellite buttons on the steering wheel, but other features such a push-button start, climate control and a full set of electric windows make up for it. Just bear in mind that the entry-level Agya doesn’t have an audio system, Bluetooth, AUX- or USB-ports; these are all optional.
The Agya has the basic safety features such as anti-lock brakes with EBD (electronic brake force distribution) and 2 x airbags for the front passengers. There is no safety rating available yet, but we’re pretty sure that the AA, together with GlobalANCAP, will be conducting crash tests soon.
The Toyota Etios was awarded with three stars, so I wouldn’t be surprised at a three-star score (or more) for the Agya. It’s all down to structural engineering and if the cabin can withstand the load, so we’ll have to wait and see.
The outer rear seats have ISOFIX anchorage points, and the rear middle seat has a three-point safety belt instead of the lap belt one usually finds in this segment. Child locks ensure that the little ones can’t unlock car doors when on the move.
The Agya is powered by a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol-engine with 49 kW and 89 Nm of torque. The 5-speed manual model is good for a 0-100 km/h sprint figure of 16,4 seconds which is hardly fast, yet it gets the job done very well. The 4-speed auto is slightly slower to the 100 km/h finish line, but who cares; as long as you can keep comfortable in heavy traffic.
Toyota’s claimed figure for (average) fuel consumption is just under 5 litres per 100 km, and they reckon you’ll be able to drive around 687 km before having to refill the 33-litre tank
The Agya’s spacious and comfortable interior with family-friendly features and the reliability of the Toyota badge all work together to create an excellent little runabout that never feels flimsy or unstable. This has become an interesting segment to buy a car. You have the Renault Kwid, the recently-refreshed Hyundai Grand i10, which is also roomy in the back and has been a trusted entry-level car for a while now, competition gets ever-so-slightly tougher.
The Polo Vivo will always be a firm favourite but it is expensive. Other worthwhile options include the new Suzuki Swift and the Nissan Micra Active.
If you’re not too concerned about legroom on the rear bench, the accomplished Kia Picanto is a sensible choice, especially if you have little ones who are still in their kiddie seats, as ISOFIX child seat anchorage points on the outer rear seats are a standard feature.