BACK TO THE FUTURE WITH NEW VIVA
Vauxhall’s citycar revives this retro name from Seventies, driven by quality without gimmicks
YOU’RE probably going to have defining memories of your childhood. One of mine is the black vinyl rear seats of my father’s Vauxhall Viva and how they would become hotter than the surface of Venus during summer road trips around Spain.
Clearly things have come on a long way since the last Viva rolled off the production line in 1979, and its rebirth as a five-door citycar.
The new Viva has been built around Vauxhall’s latest 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with 75PS worth of power, which is probably about adequate for a citycar. More engines may be announced in time, but the powerplant requirements for a small city scoot like this are usually quite simple.
Models of this sort don’t cover enough miles for a diesel engine to be worth fitting and lighter is better if you want urban manoeuvrability.
This ECOTEC 1.0-litre engine drives the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox and the suspension and steering has been optimised for comfort on the sort of pock-marked streets that typify most British cities. Plus, it gets a ‘City’ mode that lightens the steering even further. The styling is neat and assured, and the interior looks well built. Prices start at around £8,000, ranging up to around £9,500, competitive for the citycar segment. While there’s only a single five-door body style, there is a reasonable choice of trim, with two main spec levels: SE, and SL which is a trim name carried over from the original Vauxhall Viva.
There are Air Con and ECOFLEX versions of the SE trim, giving customers a choice of four decently-specified models (SE, SE Air Con, SE ECOFLEX and SL).
The Vauxhall Viva looks promising, and will appeal to those seeking maturity and quality over styling gimmicks, yet with retro appeal.