Vauxhall Viva (2015 – 2019) Review
Vauxhall Viva (2015 – 2019) At A Glance
On average it achieves 91% of the official MPG figure
The Vauxhall Viva is the brand’s city car contender, designed to compete with popular choices such as the Toyota Aygo, Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo and Hyundai i10. Reviving a name that had been long absent from the Vauxhall line up, the Viva shared a great deal with the similarly-discontinued Chevrolet Spark. As with many of its rivals the emphasis is on low running costs, ease of driving in the city and maximising the amount of interior space from a small exterior footprint. It’s certainly cheap but quite short on charm - there are better options in this class.
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 Vauxhall 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 under the old NEDC measurement.
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.
On the positive side the cabin is practical and makes the most of its small footprint, with decent space for four adults and a light, airy cabin. 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. You may struggle if you need to carry big loads of people and luggage on a regular basis, but as an urban runaround the Viva should be big enough for your needs.
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.
The Viva is more competent in respect of ride quality, with the suspension set up to be sensibly soft resulting in a good ability to soak up urban bumps. The downside is that the Viva isn’t particularly fun through the bends, although it is perfectly safe and secure it is unlikely to get you grinning on the way home.