The 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.
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Modern CDTi diesel engines were offered across the range. These are refined, smooth and more than capable of hauling the Vivaro's bulk. Models with 100hp and more have a slick six-speed gearbox, whilst all others have five speeds.
On the road, the 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.
The 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 included sat-nav, electronic stability control, air-con, a tailgate and a range of stereo systems
Insurance is Group 4 and all the diesel engines are economical. Vivaro buyers can take advantage of Vauxhall’s Premier Service Centres to keep their van on the road. Same-day repairs are guaranteed, while no appointment is necessary for repairs that take under 90 minutes.
The 2.0-litre CDTi is fitted with a cam chain, rather than a cambelt. It's maintenance-free, which cuts down on the time needed to service this model. Plus every Vivaro has a stainless steel exhaust, which lasts much longer than a standard steel one. Service intervals are every 18,000 miles and there's a three year/18,000-mile warranty.
Vauxhall issued a recall of the Vivaro to repair the brake pedal linkage. A retaining clip could become detached after high mileage and reduce the effectiveness of the footbrake. No incidents have been reported as a result. Aside from that, the Vivaro is proving very durable.
All models came with standard ABS and brake assist for emergency situations. Dual front airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and an electronic stability programme were optional.
The Vivaro performs well on the security front with anti-tamper locks, remote central locking and an immobiliser. 2006 saw the introduction of a three-button key that separately unlocks the passenger and cargo doors. It means the cab can be securely locked, while the van is being loaded.