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Vauxhall Viva (2015–)

Last updated 13 August 2018

Functional and affordable city car. Easy to park. Well-equipped as standard. All models get five-doors. Flat folding rear seats.
No fun to drive at speed. Underpowered and undergeared for motorway. Interior dull and uninspiring. Flat folded rear seats leave little room for the driver.
Updated 20 October 2016

Report of 2015 Vauxhall Viva needing a first service at 8,900 miles because it has used its oil and dealer recommended an oil and filter change. Now, at 17,700 miles, oil is again down to the minimum,...

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Introduction

The original Vauxhall Viva was launched back in 1963 and proved an instant hit due to its good value and practical nature. Now, after more than half a century, GM has renamed its Opel Karl city car as the Vauxhall Viva for the UK, but remains true to its forbearer’s values by focusing on low running costs and practicality. 

The Viva is at its best in an urban environment, with its diminutive size and three-cylinder engine making it easy to drive and park in town. The Viva is offered with just one engine - a 1.0-litre petrol with 75PS - which is economical and competent at low speeds, returning up to 65.7mpg and emitting less than 100g/km of CO2 when specified in ecoFlex trim.

All models are well-equipped and even basic models get cruise control, heated door mirrors, front fog lights, lane departure warning and hill start assist. However, air conditioning and Bluetooth aren’t included and the interior also feels rather cheap due to a thick layer of scratchy and dull plastics.

The range-topping SL models do add automatic air conditioning, a leather covered steering wheel and alloys, but even with these extras, the Viva rarely detracts from its low-cost appearance. 

The cabin is practical though, with space for four adults and lots of airy comfort. The ride is also good, with soft suspension and low levels of road noise. Admittedly, the boot is on the small size - it's just 200 litres - but it's sufficient for the weekly shop or a couple of small suitcases.

One area that does let the Vauxhall Viva down is its lack of 'big car' feel at higher speeds. The Viva's 1.0-litre engine isn't bad, but it is painfully slow and will often leave the driver changing down a gear or two to cope with small hills. Both the Hyundai i10 and Skoda Citigo feel more composed above 50mph and are also more fun behind the wheel, with better mid-range acceleration. 

It's difficult to deny the Viva's value though, especially when you factor its low running cost and impressive equipment levels. However, even considering that, the Viva still feels decidedly average, especially when you compare it to the current crop of city cars that focus on fun and style - both of which are desperately lacking here.

Vauxhall Viva 2015 Road Test

Owners' reviews

5
Paid not a lot and got a bargain
5
A smashing little car for my retirement.
4
Nice little spacious nippy car
5
Great little car would recommend to anyone best the rest by a long way
5
Very economical small hatchback, refined, plenty of power
5
Fantastic happy with it
 

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