Subscribe to industry newsletters

Tested: The new Toyota Agya is fun with some attitude

My first impressions when I received the keys to the Toyota Agya was how much it reminded me of the Daihatsu Charade from a few decades ago. Remember that? The sales tag line of the then Charade was: 'it runs on the smell of an oil rag'. It was no wonder really that I found out later that the Agya is another joint effort.
Photo credit: Naresh Maharaj
Photo credit: Naresh Maharaj

This time between Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) and Daihatsu Motor Company and the end result of this collaboration is the highly competitive and modestly priced compact car.

Being a Hindu, I immediately looked up the name Agya, which is of Hindu Sanskrit origin and loosely translated it means ‘fast’. No, not abstaining from food, drink and worldly pleasures but in this instance, it means to travel fast.

Bang for your buck


The Agya is aimed at discerning budget-conscious first-time buyers. But it is really amazing the value you get in return for your buck. With a host of standard features such as anti-lock brakes (ABS) enhanced by electronic brake force distribution (EBD), 14-inch alloy wheels, driver and front passenger airbags and the option of an automatic transmission, the Agya simply offers more for less, while offering buyers the peace of mind of a quality Toyota-backed product.

Styled with an attitude


The front bumper is aggressively sculpted with a three-dimensional design for an assertive, sporty look and a wide stance. This is further enhanced by upwardly curving projector headlamps that ooze attitude through their teardrop-shape and feature a lens acting as a magnifying glass to increase the brightness of the light beam for optimum visibility.

At the side, the door handles are colour coded, as are the electrically retractable mirrors that neatly integrate the indicator lens. And showing off some more smartness at the back is a roof-mounted rear spoiler and LED-powered rear lights.

The interior


Interior comfort is taken care of by power steering and automatic air conditioning (climate control), key trip information is conveyed to the driver via a multi-information display, while all passengers enjoy the luxury of electrically operated windows; and an auxiliary 12-volt socket is on hand for charging additional mobile devices. Powering up the Agya experience is a push-start button and remote central locking.

Enjoy the space


To maximise interior and boot space, the back seat is one fixed unit and folds over downwards to create that extra space required for golf bags and the like. The all-new Agya has been specially designed with each wheel positioned at the outermost corner of the vehicle’s body.

Running up that hill


All Agya models feature assertively-styled anthracite-coloured 14" alloy wheels shod with 175-65-R14 tyres, along with a similar-sized steel spare wheel, serving as backup. The glossy black wheel rims really give this entry-level car plenty of attitude whilst the Agya’s nippy but thrifty 998cm3, three-cylinder, fuel-injected petrol engine serves to make light work of urban commutes.

Powering the front wheels and developing maximum power of 49kW at 6000rpm. The engine is mated to either a slick-shifting five-speed manual transmission for ultimate driver control; or a self-shifting four-speed automatic transmission for complete driving comfort.

Runs on the smell of an oil rag? You bet! The manual version of the Agya sips an average of just 4.8 l/100km and can attain a top speed of 165km/h. The fuel tank has a capacity of only 33l but I managed to eke out some 690kms. Now that’s economical indeed.

Model line-up and pricing

  • Agya MT - R178,600
  • Agya AT - R192,500
  • Agya MT (with audio) - R182,400
  • Agya AT (with audio) - R196,300

Warranty and maintenance


All Agya models are sold with a two-services/20,000 km service plan. A three-year/100,000km warranty is also provided.

About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on moc.liamg@123jarahamn.

Let's do Biz