- Cheap to buy
- Easy to drive
- Excellently equipped
- Low running costs
- Small boot
- Not as exciting to drive as rivals
- Basic interior
Replacing the Agila as the entry-point in the range, this tall, five-door hatchback is the Vauxhall Viva, slotting below the recently-revised Corsa and funkier Adam in the firm’s line-up.
What is it?
Retro small cars have proved popular for years – you only need to stand on a street corner for a few minutes to see several Fiat 500s and MINIs. Instead of using the design of a much-loved older model to inspire a new one, Vauxhall’s dusted off the Viva badge, last used in 1979 for its newcomer. Elsewhere in Europe, the Opel version will be called Karl.
As similarities go, Vivas of old were no-nonsense, spacious family cars, as is the latest model to bear the name, with five seats in its compact bodywork, and as such it doesn’t compete directly with the chic Fiat and MINI. Instead Vauxhall is attempting to lure buyers away from the likes of Dacia’s Sandero, Kia’s Picanto and Ford’s Ka.
Although the new Viva is distinctive from the side - with its sculpted bulges rising upwards towards the tail - the front and rear aspects seem ordinary by comparison. There’s a palette of 10 colours to choose from to help liven it up though.
Single petrol engine
So far the only engine confirmed for the new Vauxhall Viva is a non-turbocharged version of the refined 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol motor we’ve previously experienced in the Corsa and Adam.
With 74bhp available, performance is satisfactory rather than scintillating, but it fits in with the Viva’s role of providing affordable, practical family transport.
Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels, running costs impress with an official combined fuel economy figure of 62.8mpg rising to 65.7mpg if you pick the SE ecoFLEX version which adds low rolling resistance tyres to its specification.
Impressive equipment levels
Even at the lower reaches of the car market, savvy customers these days expect cars to be well-equipped with relevant technology and the new Viva comes very well kitted out.
The new car will also be available with the firm’s IntelliLink infotainment system from January 2016, complete with touchscreen and connectivity to both Apple and Android devices.
Standard safety systems include electronic stability control, lane departure warning, traction control and hill-start function.