Vauxhall Viva

ecoFLEX SE

Vauxhall Viva, head on
Vauxhall Viva, front
Vauxhall Viva, side
Vauxhall Viva, rear
Vauxhall Viva, interior
Vauxhall Viva, rear seats
Vauxhall Viva, boot

ROYALTY do it regularly, now it's the turn of Vauxhall to resurrect a name from history for a new generation, the Viva.

A one time familiar sight on seaside trips, the Vauxhall Viva name is now more city orientated as a compact commuter hatchback.

It's a small car with a small selection in its range but it does a big job at coping with what you ask, up to a point.

Close in size to the sportier and sharper styled Adam, the Viva is more family facing with modest room for four and possibly a very small third person in the back row.

Bootspace is tight but expandable if you fold down the rear seats and access is good for everyone with luggage room rising from 206 to 1,013 litres.

The Viva comes with just a 1.0-litre engine and five-speed manual gearbox in SE or SL trims from £8,000 to £9,500. It's surprisingly brisk away from the lights so long as only a driver is aboard and it moves steadily through the gears to a composed cruising speed on main or motorway roads.

We managed to average about 50mpg over 300 miles and it coped well with country lanes and city streets, being agile and nimble when parking or squeezing past tractors and trailers.

Steering and brakes were nicely weighted, the clutch effortless and progressive and the gearchange direct with fairly good ratios so long as you thought about the pulling power underfoot.

It handled well at low speed with a tendency to run wide and roll around tighter turns on open roads but it all came together without drama if you did lift off mid-corner.

Ride quality was generally good, sometimes bumpy over the worst surfaces and you were aware that it did not have big wheels and tyres when they dropped into a pothole rather than spread over it.

For a family car which is likely to spend a lot of time in urban areas, the visibility was clear all round with low waistline, deep windows and slim roof pillars. Lights and wipers were up to their tasks.

Inside, the Viva was compact for the driver with everything falling immediately to hand or foot, controls worked well and the simple instruments were modestly calibrated but very clear, supported by a multi-function display.

Powered front windows and manual rear winders backed up the on-board climate control with its simple switches and the system was quick, wide ranging and had good output.

Oddments space was modest for a family car but in keeping with a small car of this class and it offered a range of bins, trays and pockets for storage.

On the road it went well, easily keeping up with traffic and it could overtake safely when you judged power, pace and positioning, but you would have to recalculate if carrying a few people or heavy items.

Its agility in town was very commendable and it could be popped into a small parking space without a problem.

FAST FACTS

Vauxhall Viva ecoFLEX SE

Price: £8,170

Mechanical: 75bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 106mph

0-62mph: 13.1 seconds

Combined MPG:50.2

Insurance Group: 3

C02 emissions: 99g/km

Bik rating: 14%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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