Words and images* by Wayne Gorrett
Those of a ‘certain age’ will be familiar with the Viva name. The small sedan of yesteryear has been absent from showrooms since 1979, but Vauxhall has revived the name for this new budget city car.
With a starting price of just £7,995, the Viva makes good value sense in a fiercely competitive market segment. Alongside the likes of the Hyundai i10, Kia’s little Picanto and more recently the very good Suzuki Celerio – nobody expects high degrees of luxury due to functionality’s continued reign of supremacy in this category.
The Viva boasts some smart and clean lines, such as the dual side creases that strike through each door handle. Available in only five-door body style, its rear doors have fully opening windows unlike the retro pop-out versions on many of its rivals.
The interior of the Viva is aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, beating many rivals in quality of materials. Par for the course in this class, there is no reach adjustment for the steering wheel, but it is easy enough to find a reasonable driving position.
Both head and legroom is fair for adults in the front, though rear legroom will be a tad cosy if the front passengers happen to be taller than average. Storage space in and around the cabin is good and the boot is of a size normally expected of a city car.
Engine, Transmission and Performance
Under the bonnet is a non-turbo version of the much acclaimed 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder engine previously experienced in the Adam and Corsa. Producing 74bhp, it propels the car from 0 to 60mph in a reasonable 13.1 seconds. Top speed is an irrelevant 106mph, while attaining an exemplary 62.8mpg (combined) and emitting just 104g of CO2 per km. Other appealing stats are the group 3 insurance and the generous 20,000-mile service interval.
Over 275 mixed miles during our week together, the little Viva returned a quite disappointing 49.3 mpg (official combined 62.8 mpg), at an average speed 29.6 mph.
The 1.0-litre engine is very refined, smooth and quiet but maximum power doesn’t arrive until 6,500rpm, by which time the cabin is a riot of noise. Still, most of Viva’s anticipated core audience of older, female buyers are unlikely to drive it that hard.
On the Road
On the road the car behaves very well with road and wind noise evidently suppressed. The ride can be slightly fidgety over crusty surfaces, but by and large it’s a well composed drive.
Sure, some of its peers may drive better, offer more equipment and a larger selection of engines – but frankly, those choices will burn a larger hole in your pocket. When it comes to no-frills motoring, clever money is on Vauxhall’s newest little diva.
Fast Facts : Vauxhall Viva
Model price range : £7,995 – £9,495
Engine : 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder, naturally-aspirated petrol
Transmission : Five-speed manual.
Power : 75bhp / 95Nm @ 4,500rpm
Output : 0 to 60mph in 13.1 seconds, 106mph top speed
Fuel economy: 65.7mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 emissions range : 99 – 104g/km
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