• Electric charge point conveniently positioned
  • Roomy interior, but more flexibility needed
  • Sliding doors help prevent car park dings

Filling the diesel Vivaro Life with fuel is easy: pull alongside the pump and pop open the conveniently located flap just ahead of the nearside rear wheel.

In an ideal world, the same flap would be used on the electric version, but given most electric chargers are located at the end of parking bays rather than alongside them, its position won’t work.

As a result, that flap is simply fixed shut and instead a new spring-loaded panel hiding the CCS and Type-2 socket is conveniently positioned in the nearside front wing.

Essentially the only downside of parking the Vivaro-e Life nose-in – anywhere, in fact – is that it’s very long, making reversing back out a bit of a pain. A reversing camera on Elite models makes this easier.

How roomy is the electric Vivaro Life?

Thanks to the Vivaro-e Life’s battery pack being located under the floor, there’s no impact on space for passengers or luggage, meaning it’s identical to its diesel twin in this regard. There are positives and drawbacks to this.

As the electric Vivaro is only (currently) available with the longer bodywork option, there’s masses of interior space, with a cabin that feels light and airy, especially on Elite models with a glazed central roof panel.  

Not so good is the restricted flexibility of how that roomy interior can be used. Because the Vauxhall’s third-row seatbelts are mounted to the body rather than the seats themselves, there’s a limited range of positions they can be slid into.

Compared with the Mercedes-Benz EQV which has all of its belts fitted to the seats, the Vauxhall’s interior feels less spacious despite how massive it is inside.

This is less obvious in the Vivaro-e with all of the second and third row seats facing forwards, but if you rotate the middle row to face rearwards, making it feel more sociable, taller passengers will find their legs intertwined. A clear win for the Mercedes in this regard.

Moving the seats in the rear is a doddle as they slide back and forth on rails, but the gaps in the runners are wide enough to harbour all manner of bits and bobs like a macabre show-and-tell of in-car detritus.

Access to the back is easy thanks to the wide, sliding doors – with an electric action on the Elite versions.

Oddments storage could be better

If you go for a seven-seater version of the Elite, given that storage space in the rear is somewhat lacking, you might well consider the central fold-up table option.

It slides on the seat rails for convenience and is small when not in use, but it’s less user-friendly – and rattlier – than the versions you’ll find in the Mercedes EQV and (diesel-engined) VW Caravelle. More worth having than not, though.

Elite trim Vivaro-e Lifes also come with exceptionally dark (when viewed externally) privacy glass in the rear side and tailgate windows, providing a bit of security from prying eyes.

Things are more enlightened in the front with a pair of dash-top cubbies, slots and pockets in the doors, deep-set cupholders in the outer edges of the dashboard and a space between the front seats that’s handy for a laptop bag and/or a small amount of shopping.

Annoyingly, there’s nowhere convenient to store a modern smartphone, which is a pain given the USB port is in the middle of the dashboard – your Vauxhall dealer can supply a dash-mounted cradle as an extra, though.

How big is the Vivaro-e Life’s boot?

There’s masses of space in the back of the Vivaro, but if you want to go full van mode be prepared to eat your spinach and rope in a friend as the seats are heavy to lug about. Doing so will liberate 4,554 litres of capacity.

There’s still plenty of space if you decide to keep them in all the time, though, as we expect most people will – then you’ll be looking at 3,300 litres of available volume.

Only available in the longer L bodywork, boot space with all the seats in use is 989 litres to the window line and 1,384 litres to roof height.

Elite versions have a parcel shelf, but it serves little purpose as it only covers half the space from the tailgate to the back of the third-row seats.

Like the EQV, the Vivaro-e Life has a hinged tailgate window to allow easier boot access in confined areas, but unlike the Mercedes, Vauxhall doesn’t fit an electric full tailgate – a hearty tug’s required to shut it.

How safe is the Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life?

  • Full five-star rating from Euro NCAP
  • Elite models have more safety features
  • Additional safety kit optionally available

Although the crash-testing experts at Euro NCAP haven’t specifically tested the Vivaro-e Life – or its electric siblings, the Citroen e-SpaceTourer and Peugeot e-Traveller – the structurally identical diesel-engined versions scored a full five stars when they were tested.

All Vivaro-e Life models come with the following as standard:

Most private, rather than business, buyers are expected to go for the more generously equipped Elite version, which comes with additional safety equipment:

  • Curtain airbags for all three rows of passengers
  • Blindspot alert
  • Visibility Pack comprising of a heat-reflective windscreen and rain-sensitive wipers
  • LED daytime-running lights
  • Xenon headlamps
  • Front foglamps
  • Parking sensors front and rear with a reversing camera

If you want to spend extra on safety options there’s Driver Safety Pack, which includes semi-adaptive cruise control (it slows by backing off the throttle rather than braking – it’s more effective in the electric Vivaro than the diesel) and automatic emergency braking (AEB).

There is also the Driver Assistance Pack with lane-keep assist, speed limit information display, a driver drowsiness system and automatic main beams.

A rather effective individual option is the head-up display (HUD) projecting key information onto a transparent screen that rises from the dashboard.

Watch: Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life’s sister car’s Euro NCAP crash test video

 

Basic equipment

The basic equipment list includes equipment that is standard across all versions of the Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life MPV.

  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • ABS
  • Alarm
  • Cruise control
  • Driver`s airbag
  • Electric mirrors
  • Front electric windows
  • Full size spare wheel
  • Heated mirrors
  • PAS
  • Passenger`s airbag
  • Side airbags
  • Traction control

Equipment by trim level

To view equipment options for a specific trim level, please select from the following list:

Equipment included on some trim levels
  • Air conditioning
  • Alloy wheels
  • Climate control
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Front fog lights
  • Leather seat trim
  • Lumbar support
  • Sat Nav
  • Steel wheels
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment

Edition equipment

Edition standard equipment
  • Air conditioning
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Steel wheels
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
Edition optional equipment
None available

Elite equipment

Elite standard equipment
  • Alloy wheels
  • Climate control
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Front fog lights
  • Leather seat trim
  • Lumbar support
  • Sat Nav
Elite optional equipment
None available
Find out more about all electric cars here

Euro NCAP Rating – 5 stars

The Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life MPV was tested by Euro NCAP in 2015 and was awarded a 5 star overall rating. This overall rating is calculated from the following individual ratings:

5 star rating
Test 2015
Individual safety ratings
Adult Occupant: 87%
Child Occupant: 91%
Vulnerable Road Users: 64%
Safety Assist: 78%

Euro NCAP provides motoring consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. The safety ratings are determined from a series of vehicle tests, designed and carried out by Euro NCAP. These tests represent, in a simplified way, important real life accident scenarios that could result in injured or killed car occupants or other road users.