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Vauxhall Viva Rocks engines, drive and performance

2017 - 2019 (change model)
Performance rating: 3 out of 53.0

Written by James Dennison Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

  • One engine choice
  • 1.0-litre petrol produces 75hp
  • Excellent five-speed manual gearbox

The Vauxhall Viva Rocks is available with one engine – a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol producing 75hp and 95Nm of torque. It’s enough to get the car up to speed in and around town, but the lack of outright grunt can be an issue on faster roads where the Viva Rocks feels underpowered. A 106mph top speed and 0-62mph time of 13.1 seconds attests to this.

Besides the ultimate lack of power the naturally aspirated engine (no turbo or supercharger) is easy to drive and can be good fun when worked hard. Throttle response is excellent and the off-beat engine note is pleasingly characterful.

Sweet five-speed manual transmission

Changing gear in the Viva Rocks is a pleasant experience thanks to a slick and snappy five-speed transmission. It’s a real bonus, especially given that the low power output means you have to work the gearbox hard to get the most out of its 1.0-litre engine. 

  • Safe and stable, even if the body leans in corners
  • Easy to drive and park
  • Tight turning circle

The Viva Rocks is well-suited to inner city driving thanks to its compact dimensions and small turning circle. Swiveling the steering wheel to get around tight bends is made easier with ‘City’ mode, while optional parking sensors mean squeezing the Viva Rocks into tight spaces is easy.

Out on faster roads, there’s a noticeable amount of body roll (where the body of the car leans out of a corner) to contend with, although not so much as to make the Viva Rocks feel unstable. In fact, even when pushed hard it clings on through corners and remains safe and predictable – perfect for young or inexperienced drivers.

Little to no off-road credentials

Don’t be fooled by the rugged looking plastic exterior trim or raised ride height, the Viva Rocks is not suited to any form of off-roading. Remember, there’s no four-wheel drive or clever electronic aids to help maintain grip in slippery conditions.