Why Viva is making a welcome comeback

WELCOME to Viva. Vauxhall have revived a famous name from the 1960s and 1970s for its new five-door city car hatchback.

Wednesday, 6th April 2016, 9:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2016, 10:56 pm

What next? A Cavalier, perhaps? Maybe a Victor? Actually, Chevette might have been a better choice than Viva, given the new model’s compact size and competitive price.

The new Viva is a sprightly car which is much, much better than expected. It’s compact, yet has five doors and decent passenger and luggage space.

Importantly, it rides and handles like a much bigger car and thankfully the tiny three-cylinder engine is both efficient and capable of handling higher speeds.

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There is a limited choice - just the one engine and only manual transmission for now but an automatic is on the way.

Vauxhall say the new model pays homage to the original Viva, built from 1963 to 1979, given that it has clean lines and competitive pricing.

It joins Adam and Corsa which are trendier and more fashionable models, yet Viva is a rather neat affair which stands comparison with rivals such as Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto.

It feels like a much bigger car (it’s actually only 3.6 metres long) and it is neatly designed inside and out.

Three strong feature lines swoop down the sides with the signature ‘blade’, seen previously on Insignia and GTC and others, slicing through the doors.

It is well equipped, too. All versions have stability control, central locking, powered mirrors and windows and driver, passenger and side airbags.

The key to this car’s success will be the engine. After first appearing in the Adam and Corsa, Viva is the latest Vauxhall to feature its new 1.0-litre three-cylinder ECOTEC engine. It has been specially-developed for Viva and is smooth, punchy and efficient. It’s a shame it doesn’t have a sixth gear for this car feels like it could handle one.

Space in front and rear is better than expected and the boot holds 206 litres rising to more than 1,000 litres with the seats down.

Like Adam and Corsa, Viva is fully-connected thanks to the IntelliLink infotainment system, which allows seamless integration of Apple iOS and Android devices.

It’s also equipped with ESP featuring traction control, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution and Hill Start Assist, which prevents the car from rolling back when starting on a slope. Further safety options can be selected including Lane Departure Warning.

Viva also has City mode which reduces steering effort at the push of a button. Park Assist alerts the driver to obstacles whilst parking plus there’s optional cruise control, sunroof, fog lights, heated front seats and heated steering wheel.

Vauxhall claim the Viva is short, crisp and full of character, and is a ‘proper’ small car.

It’s also a growing sector with today’s customers of small cars demanding features once only found in executive models.

Vauxhall Viva 1.0 SE

PRICE: £8,395 on the road

ENGINE: A 999cc three cylinder unit generating 75PS via five-speed gearbox and front wheel drive

PERFORMANCE: Top speed 106mph and 0 to 60mph in 13.1 seconds

COSTS: Town 50.4mpg; country 72.4mpg; combined 62.8mpg


WARRANTY: Three years, 60,000 miles or Lifetime guarantee