MOTORISTS under the age of 40 will struggle to remember the Vauxhall Viva on the roads of Britain in any great numbers, as production ceased in 1979.
The car, which was first introduced in 1965 at the princely sum of £528, gave way to a new generation of front-wheel-drive cars in Britain when Vauxhall introduced the new Astra.
But in its day the Viva represented good value-for-money family motoring, an adage which is just as true of the new generation Viva which is on sale now.
With an on-the-road price of just £7,995 the latest Viva is a no-nonsense, what you see is what you get, good looking five-seater hatchback.
It's cheap to run, comfortable, drives well and its 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, 75bhp engine punches above its weight.
Even with a full compliment of passengers on board it still pulls well, although you do have to work the five speed gearbox on very steep hills.
Surprisingly despite its small engine the Viva is a very quiet, civilised car and its firm but comfortable suspension ensures an impressive ride.
Even the entry-level SE model - tested here - is well equipped, boasting electric front windows, cruise control, lane departure warning, steering wheel mounted audio controls, multi-function trip computer and front fog lights which illuminate the corners as you turn.
There's even a city mode button to make the speed sensitive steering super light for easy parking.
And what is surprising is the space inside the Viva considering its compact dimensions. There's generous room for two in the back - three with a squeeze - and anyone sitting in the front will find more than enough head and leg room.
Luggage space is limited and you would struggle with a large suitcase but it's more than adequate for the weekly family shop and folding the rear seatbacks down to increase the capacity from just 206 litres to more than 1,000 should suffice for holidays.
Highly manoeuvrable the Viva is one of the easiest cars on the market to drive. The five-speed gearbox is smooth and creamy to use and you get a conventional rather than electronic handbrake.
There's a tendency to assume that small cars with small engines will struggle on motorways but the little Viva is more than happy to mix it with the big boys in the fast lane and noise levels remain low.
Vauxhall bosses have done a great job with their new baby and I really enjoyed the Viva.