Viva rocks with SUV

style

Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, front
Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, front, action
Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, rear, action
Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, side, action
Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, rear
Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, interior
Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, rear seats
Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, instrument panel
Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, boot
Vauxhall Viva Rocks, 2017, engine

THE bludgeoning SUV sector was arguably kicked off more than two decades ago with the Toyota RAV4, a chick high-rider that came with either three or five doors.

The sector grew steadily until the Nissan Qashqai was unveiled 11 years ago...causing a tsunami of sales and copycat designs from just about every manufacturer across the globe.

At first, SUVs were confined to mid-sized models, but soon the desire for large, luxury versions spread.

Now with sales up in Europe in 2017 alone by almost a third, the focus is on tiny crossovers with many of the attributes of their big brothers.

One of the newest entrants is the Vauxhall Viva Rocks. Based on the Viva city car, it stands higher - 18mm to be precise - sports some rugged, dark-coloured bumpers, side skirts and roof rails.

The nose has been modified for the new look that's proving so much in demand, and the tail has an alloy-coloured diffuser.

Despite its name don't expect the Rocks to be capable of traversing mountainous terrain or conquering muddy slopes - it's strictly front drive, with no option of twin axle drive.

The only engine available is a diminutive 1.0-litre, three cylinder which develops 74bhp, quite sufficient to allow the Rocks to top out at 106mph and cover the 62mph dash in about 13seconds.

Good news is its meagre thirst at the petrol pump. With emissions of just 106g/km its combined average is 60.1mpg, and most owners will probably find themselves squeezing close to 50 miles out of a gallon in everyday traffic conditions.

With a price tag of £11,530, standard kit includes 60/40 split and folding rear seat, air con, Bluetooth mobile phone portal, tilting steering wheel, electric front windows, tyre pressure monitoring system and steering wheel mounted audio controls.

You must pay an extra £935 for sat nav and rear parking sensors cost an extra £285.

With two adults beside each other in the front, the Rocks feel a tad narrow, but you reap the benefits when parking in tight supermarket spaces. There's ample headroom and enough space and legroom for four thanks partly to the high ride height.

The boot, which is quite deep but doesn't extend far into the body of the car, can hold 206litres of luggage.

The fascia is efficient enough if somewhat unexciting and lacking inspiration with loads of black plastic.

It's light and easy to drive with a sweet-sounding ‘thrum' from the little three cylinder unit. Throttle response is quick and the five speed gearbox is slick and light to use.

The suspension is on the soft side and copes well with the usual pot holes and scarred surfaces of UK roads.

Vauxhall hopes the Rocks will attract younger buyers and growing families, while the standard Viva tends to be favoured by the older generation.

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