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Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6

Little reason to buy one over a regular Viva


  • Funky styling
  • Surprisingly good to drive
  • Comparatively spacious cabin
  • Cheap to run


  • Small boot
  • Just one engine on offer
  • Lack of advanced safety kit
  • Poor value compared with regular Viva


Positioned below the Adam and Corsa models in Vauxhall’s range, the Viva Rocks is based heavily on the regular Viva city car and commands a slightly higher price tag.

The most notable changes include a restyled front and rear end, chunkier side skirts and the addition of roof rails, 18mm extra ground clearance, new 15-inch alloy wheels and a revised interior.

Available in one trim level (based on the regular Viva’s SE A/C spec) and boasting almost identical performance, Vauxhall expects the Viva Rocks to attract a comparatively young driver thanks to its bolder, more utilitarian styling that taps into the growing demand for SUVs.

Direct rivals include the Suzuki Ignis, Kia Picanto X-Line and the Fiat Panda City Cross.

Questionable value for money

There’s an average spread of standard equipment on the Viva Rocks – including air-con, electric front windows and cruise control – yet it doesn’t compare well to the regular Viva.

At the time of writing a Viva SL can be had for less money than the Viva Rocks despite it boasting additional kit such as, Vauxhall OnStar, dual-zone climate control and a leather steering wheel.

Other niceties, such as heated front seats, lane-departure warning and rear parking sensors can be added at extra cost.

Mixed bag of practicality

Like the regular Viva, the Viva Rocks has enough room for four adults (five at a pinch) thanks to its boxy shape and a well-packaged interior. However, it’s not the Tardis so be prepared to make compromises if anyone of an exceptionally big build is sitting in the cabin. Interior storage space is adequate, although note there are no rear door pockets.

Disappointingly, the Viva Rocks’s luggage capacity can’t match up to the capacious cabin. With just 206 litres of bootspace with the rear seats up, it fails to match the Suzuki Ignis, Fiat Panda City Cross, Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo. Fold the rear seats down and there’s a more competitive 1,013-litre capacity, even if they don’t fold flat.

Surprisingly good to drive

Out on the road the Viva Rocks is impressively well-rounded and easy to drive. The 75hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder motor feels gutsy enough around town and provides a characterful engine noise. Motorway drives will be less enjoyable, however, thanks to the shortage of outright power.

The five-speed manual transmission is a joy to use, with a nice short action and slick, snappy gearchanges. Fuel economy is a claimed 60.1mpg average, 2.7mpg less than the Viva’s.

Thanks to its tall profile and raised ride height the Viva Rocks’s body leans noticeably through corners, although it doesn’t stop the car from feeling safe and stable, even when pushed. The overall ride comfort is a touch firmer than you might expect, but not so much as to make the Viva Rocks feel uncomfortable.

Cabin isn’t premium, but feels well-built enough

If you’re hoping for an improvement on the regular Viva’s interior quality then you’ll be disappointed. Despite its higher price tag the Viva Rocks still has by-and-large the same functional, solid but cheap-feeling cabin.

Barely any advanced safety kit

It might seem harsh marking a city car down for its lack of advanced safety kit, but many of the Viva Rocks’s rivals now come with the option of technology that can detect and potentially avoid a collision. The Viva Rocks, meanwhile, can only offer lane-departure assist as an optional extra.

The Parkers VerdictThe Parkers Verdict

The bolder styling of the Viva Rocks may mean it holds appeal over the regular Viva for a number of potential buyers – so long as you’re prepared to pay for it.

As we’ve explained further up the page, it lacks the standard equipment of cheaper Viva models meaning its value for money is highly questionable. Especially as it'll cost you around 15% more than the equivalent non-Rocks model in monthly payments if you opt for Vauxhall's PCP finance scheme (with like-for-like contract terms).

The running costs will likely be higher, too, thanks to inferior fuel economy and a higher insurance rating. And don’t think that the raised ride height means you’ll be gaining extra off-road credentials; the Viva Rocks belongs strictly on the road.  

If you’re not fussed about the styling or want to save a bit of money, the regular Viva will do everything, and more, than its pricier Viva Rocks sibling can. 

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