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Vivaro slots in just below the Movano in the Vauxhall van line-up and is the firm's answer to the shorter and lower versions of the Ford Transit. Like Transit, the most popular version is a panel van - available in short or long wheelbase forms. But other bodystyles are on offer including a 12-seat minibus, doublecab and a low deck dropside. Engines on offer are 1.9, 2.0 and 2.5-litre diesels and a 2.0-litre petrol. The range was launched in 2002 and given a re-fresh in mid 2006 when it received a re-designed front end and updated engines.
Vivaro is modern-looking inside, comfortable and very practical. There's room enough in the cab for three without feeling cramped. The dash-mounted gearstick is easy to use and frees up floor space, allowing the driver to leave the van via the passenger door if needed. Big door bins take care of odds and ends and are large enough for large bottles. There are a number of shelves for paperwork and odds and ends. The dashboard is hooded, so that any items places in the fascia cubbies do not cause irritating reflections in the windscreen. The driving position is adaptable, with a height-adjustable driver's and a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel. Options include sat-nav, electronic stability control, air-con, a tailgate and a range of stereo systems
Modern CDTi diesel engines are offered across the range. These are refined, smooth and more than capable of hauling Vivaro's bulk. Models with 100bhp and more have a slick six-speed gearbox, whilst all others have five speeds. On the road, Vivaro is an excellent performer. It's easy to drive, with good steering and sharp brakes. The only criticism is that there can be engine drone and wind noise at speed.