Vauxhall Viva - Used

Car Review

Vauxhall Viva, front action
Vauxhall Viva, side static
Vauxhall Viva, rear action
Vauxhall Viva, dashboard
Vauxhall Viva, rear seats
Vauxhall Viva, boot

JUST like buses, two Vauxhall city cars came along at the same time in 2015 after a long wait.

First there was the supposedly sporty and sophisticated three door - and therefore not very practical - Adam, which sold well because of its huge array of personalisation.

And then the company borrowed a five door design from Chrysler Korea and gave it a name that many older drivers will remember from the 70's - Viva.

This new Viva was completely different to the original but aimed at the same market to give no-nonsense family transport. There's even enough room for five inside that diminutive body.

Low prices new mean that it's very affordable secondhand and yet it's also well up with the best in class like the VW up!, and gives more a lot more fun for your pound.

The basic VW only has 60bhp, wheras the Viva boasts 74 for less money, with similar economy and lower running costs.

Light weight means this is enough for decent performance from the 1.0-litre three cylinder engine, which revs sweetly and remains quiet when cruising.

It can get to 60 miles an hour from rest in 12.7 seconds and where allowed, will push on to a top speed of over 100 miles an hour.

And with my heavy right boot it still achieved a very good 45mpg, and that means in more normal use, it's likely to better 50 for most owners.

The engine's smooth revving nature means that safe overtaking is quite possible given enough distance.

The ride is a little unsettled in town but that's same with most small cars, and it improves greatly as speed rises.

Very good grip and excellent roadholding on both wet and dry roads make it very safe and enjoyable through the corners, despite steering that doesn't have as much feel as I certainly would like.

Obviously, such a car is completely at home around town or city streets, and this is helped by a tight turning circle and almost vertical rear end, which make for very easy parking.

The seats are supportive and comfortable and although there's no steering reach adjustment, I found that I could get a comfortable driving position using its height adjustment and the height adjustable seat.

Perhaps surprisingly, rear legroom is better than some, and the boot is also bigger than most city cars.

Add to that five seatbelts - some small cars only come with four - and very good equipment for your money, and you have quite a bargain.

Even the entry SE models come well equipped, with electric mirrors and front windows, remote locking, stability control, cruise, alarm, audio remote and internal headlamp beam adjustment. But you have to go up to the next model for air con.

SE Nav adds sat nav and air conditioning, and top SL models add alloy wheels and climate control.

Pat about £6,500 for an '18 18-reg SE, or £7,900 for a '19 19-reg SL.

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