Vauxhall Viva SE

ecoFLEX

Vauxhall Viva, front
Vauxhall Viva, front
Vauxhall Viva, front
Vauxhall Viva, side
Vauxhall Viva, side
Vauxhall Viva, rear
Vauxhall Viva, rear
Vauxhall Viva, interior
Vauxhall Viva, interior

BACK in the sixties and seventies the Vauxhall Viva used to be everywhere and was certainly one of the most popular affordable family cars of the era.

From a modern perspective the original Viva was nothing short a phenomena. Built from 1963 to 1979 more than 1.5 million of them were sold.

With much fanfare Vauxhall has brought the name back, though anyone expecting a new take on the old concept might be disappointed.

The 21st century Viva is essentially more of a city car, though in fairness it has a fairly family-friendly character and packs a lot into a small package.

There's something appealing about a small, simple runabout that at the end of the day is perfectly capable of coping with the needs of most drivers and the new Viva is a case in point.

It's compact, affordable, cheap to run and given its diminutive stature immensely practical too.

For buyers the choices are simple - there's just one engine available and four versions of the car, with prices ranging from £7,995 to £9,495.

The Viva features a 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine in varying forms. All are frugal and boast low emissions but this ecoFLEX model manages to just about stay under that magical 100g/km CO2 threshold meaning there's no road tax to pay.

Even if you opt for one of the other versions you'll still enjoy road tax free motoring for the first year and just £20 thereafter.

The new Viva is available in four versions, priced from £7,995 to £9,495, all sharing the same 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine to give reasonable performance and, perhaps more importantly, excellent fuel economy.

While the ecoFLEX is unlikely to manage real world economy to match the official combined 65.7mpg figure in reality you won't be that far off.

Impressively the 1.0-litre unit is actually a capable performer, with a turn of pace that will surprise. It's only when you're navigating steep hills or have a full passenger complement that you'll notice its limitations.

There are SE and SL trim levels, the cheaper SE coming well equipped. Buyers get cruise control, remote central locking, six airbags, lane departure warning, daytime running lights, a decent sound system, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, electric front windows and door mirrors, speed sensitive power steering and a trip computer.

Step up to the SL and you'll get extras like Bluetooth music streaming, a DAB radio, six speakers, climate control, a USB connection, a leather covered multi-function steering wheel, tinted rear windows and 15-inch alloys.

The cabin is nicely done out and the switchgear and instrumentation are of good quality and easy to navigate your way around.

It's roomy too, making the most of the classic city car design blueprint where all four wheels are pushed out just about as far as they can go.

It means the Viva can actually seat four adults quite comfortably (there are five seats), though you probably wouldn't fancy using it to transport four grown-ups from Land's End to John o'Groats.

However, if you had to the journey wouldn't be unbearable as the Korean-made Viva boasts exceptionally comfortable ride quality thanks to a suspension system that's been specially tuned for UK roads.

It also handles nicely for a small car and is also immensely easy to drive and manoeuvre.

FAST FACTS

Vauxhall Viva SE ecoFLEX

Price:£8,770

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

Max Speed:106mph

0-62mph:13.1 seconds

Combined MPG:65.7

Insurance Group: 3

C02 emissions: 99g/km

Bik rating:16%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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