Dad dot info
DAD.info form. Ask questions, get answers
DAD.info | Lifestyle | Motoring | Reviews | FIRST DRIVE: Vauxhall Viva

FIRST DRIVE: Vauxhall Viva

Vauxhall’s new city car revives a classic name, but is it a case of Viva Las Luton or less Viva, Luton?

What is it?

Model tested: Vauxhall Viva 1.0 SE
Price£7,995
Top speed106 mph
0-62 mph13.1 seconds
Combined fuel economy62.8 mpg
CO2 emissions104 g/km
VED bandB / £20
Insurance group3E
Engine1.0-litre petrol
Power75 PS (74 bhp)
Torque95 Nm (70 lb-ft)

It’s 52 years since the original Vauxhall Viva was launched, a fairly conventional car that did what it needed to do but not much more. Now, 34 years since it last graced the showrooms, the Viva is back as a small hatchback that’s well equipped, well priced and practical.

Small might be understating things a little. While it’s some 14cm longer than a Volkswagen Up, it’s also a few centimetres narrower. It slots below the ever-popular Corsa in the range, taking the sensible side of the garage to it’s more interesting Adam sibling.

That means that instead of Adam’s 80,000 or so personalisation options, the Viva will come in two trim levels and just one engine choice. There’s also just one gearbox for now, although an automatic will be turning up next year.

What’s it like?

That one engine choice is a smooth three-cylinder 1.0-litre unit, the same one that you will find in the Adam or Corsa. In the Viva though Vauxhall has removed the turbocharger, so it loses quite a bit of power.

In town that’s no great issue, the car zipping along with city traffic without any problem. Leave the suburbs and head out on to motorways and it all gets a little steady. Overtaking moves need to be planned out, ideally by writing to the person you wish to overtake so they can park up for a bit and allow you by. Rapid, it is not.

It does ride well though, the slightly firm suspension feeling surprisingly grown up. That allows you to lean on it in corners, maintaining as much speed as possible. Head back in to the city and it copes with most that the urban environment can throw at it. It’s really quite accomplished.

It’s just a shame that there’s so much road noise, the tyres making their presence felt at all times. There’s little engine or wind noise, though that may just be drowned out by the tyres.

Equipment levels are high, with cruise control, heated mirrors and fog lights all as standard on the SE model. Air-conditioning is a £495 option. Step up to the SL spec and you’ll find USB and Bluetooth connectivity, alloy wheels and privacy glass amongst the upgrades.

That’s all wrapped up in a cabin that is of really quite good quality. The layout of the dashboard is logical and neat, while the fit and finish wouldn’t be out of place in a car a couple of classes up.

Is it practical?

It’s a city car, so you’re not going to get cavernous accommodation, but the Viva can at least take four adults in reasonable comfort. Specify the optional sunroof and you lose a fair bit of headroom though, which could make things tight for six-footers.

The boot is deep but a bit smaller than the competition – at 208 litres, it’s 43 smaller than the Volkswagen Up and 46 smaller than in the identically priced Suzuki Celerio. The rear seats do split and fold, adding some practicality, while the cabin is littered with little storage areas. Isofix points are also in place in the rear, as you would expect.

Promised economy is good, with an official combined mpg of 62.8. CO2 emissions are down at 104g/km, which means a car tax bill of just £20 a year. A slightly modified ecoFLEX model is available with special tyres and a couple of spoilers which improves economy to 65.7mpg and drops emissions to a tax-free 99g/km for an extra £175 on the car’s price.

Should I buy one?

The Viva makes a strong case for itself at £7,995, but there is a lot of competition in this sector. The aforementioned Suzuki Celerio costs the same but adds air-conditioning, DAB radio and Bluetooth to the standard specification, as well as a bigger boot, although the Suzuki can’t make the Viva’s quality of fit and finish.

Hyundai’s i10 offers a little more of everything for a little more cash, while the darling of the class, Volkswagen’s Up, remains a better option all round, albeit at a steep price.

That leaves the Viva as a sensible enough option, but not an exciting one. If you need a small car and don’t want to spend much money, it’s a fine choice, but more expensive rivals offer more.

Related entries

Driving lessons for teenagers – How to book

Driving lessons for teenagers – How to book

It doesn't feel like a moment since I was teaching them to ride a bike and now I'm meant to trust my kid behind the wheel of a car! But where to start - should I just jump in the car with them? What options are there for driving lessons for teenagers? Young Driver...

FIRST DRIVE: Honda CR-V Hybrid

FIRST DRIVE: Honda CR-V Hybrid

Standfirst There’s been a lot of diesel difficulties over recent months, and that’s had quite an impact on Honda’s CR-V range. While the petrol engines remain, downsized to 1.5-litres, the diesel versions have been dropped entirely and replaced with a petrol-electric...

FIRST DRIVE: Honda CR-V Hybrid

FIRST DRIVE: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Refreshed for 2019, Phil Huff finds out if the hybrid-powered Outlander is still the green SUV of choice... Who’d have thought that the best-selling plug-in hybrid car would be a sizeable SUV? Mitsubishi understood the market when the Outlander first appeared in...

Latest entries

How to have a ‘good divorce’

How to have a ‘good divorce’

This week marks Good Divorce Week and Dad Info is gathering tips and information from those in the know about how to have an amicable, less painful divorce experience. In England & Wales, 42% of marriages end in divorce; that means there’s only a 1 in 2 chance...

How divorcing couples can save thousands this Christmas

How divorcing couples can save thousands this Christmas

Every day at Dad.info we talk with parents who are struggling through costly court hearings. We strongly believe that mediation is a route that can take the conflict out of separation. Hands up who would like £500 towards mediation sessions? Too Late for Court...

5 simple ways to boost your health today

5 simple ways to boost your health today

Living through the last couple of years has been rough on not only our bodies but also our brains. It was also recently reported that life expectancy in some parts of England has fallen- even before Covid. However, there is good news. Up to 80% of chronic disease is...

Pin It on Pinterest