Vaux­hall’s ci­ty­car re­vives this retro name from Seven­ties, driven by qual­ity with­out gim­micks

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - ANDY ENRIGHT

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.

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