Safe and sound

Rutherglen Reformer - - MOTORS -

I got my first look at Vaux­hall’s new Viva bud­get car when it made its de­but at the Geneva Mo­tor Show in March be­fore go­ing on sale back in June.

The orig­i­nal Viva first ar­rived way back in 1963 and was an in­stant hit with the Bri­tish public. It notched over 1.5 mil­lion sales be­fore be­ing dis­con­tin­ued in 1979.

At launch it cost un­der £600 and was man­u­fac­tured in Ellesmere Port – now the home of the As­tra – be­fore be­ing dropped for a new prod­uct.

Back then it of­fered no frills mo­tor­ing and this new car – now man­u­fac­tured in South Korea – adopts a sim­i­lar for­mat.

The five-door hatch­back Viva is priced from £7,995 to £9,495 and is avail­able with just one en­gine – a 1.0-litre three-cylin­der petrol vari­ant that of­fers good econ­omy, low emis­sions and sur­pris­ing per­for­mance.

The Viva of­fers two trim lev­els and tar­gets cus­tomers who are look­ing for value for money.

While other man­u­fac­tur­ers have taken the fash­ion route with their small cars of­fer­ing seem­ingly lim­it­less per­son­al­i­sa­tion op­tions aimed mainly at young driv­ers, the Viva will at­tract buy­ers from all age groups.

It is a re­ally stylish small car and is in­stantly recog­nis­able as a Vaux­hall. It’s well pro­por­tioned thanks to some well placed lines down its flanks and short front and rear over­hangs. The nose fea­tures day­time run­ning lights and Vaux­hall’s trade­mark grille. Large head­lights and tail­lights com­plete its good looks and the car is avail­able in 10 colours with a va­ri­ety of 15 or 16-inch wheels.

All mod­els boast im­pres­sive equip­ment lev­els with the en­try-level SE cars fea­tur­ing day­time run­ning lights, a de­cent sound sys­tem with auxin, steer­ing wheel-mounted au­dio con­trols, cruise con­trol with speed lim­iter, elec­tric front win­dows and door mir­rors, speed sen­si­tive power steer­ing with City Mode and a trip com­puter. The more ex­pen­sive SL adds elec­tronic cli­mate con­trol, a USB con­nec­tion, Blue­tooth mu­sic stream­ing, six speak­ers, a leather cov­ered steer­ing wheel, tinted rear win­dows and 15-inch al­loys.

The 74bhp, 1.0-litre petrol en­gine is good for 106mph and takes 13.1 sec­onds to reach 62mph. The five-speed man­ual gear­box is smooth and easy to use.

There is no au­to­matic choice at the mo­ment but will join the range in Jan­uary of next year.

It’s well suited to town and city driv­ing as good vis­i­bil­ity and light steer­ing make ma­noeu­vring a hoot. The small en­gine pro­duces a de­cent turn of speed so you won’t have any trou­ble keep­ing up with other traf­fic.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures it can de­liver com­bined fuel econ­omy of 62.8mpg with emis­sions of 104g/km. An ecoFlex ver­sion cuts emis­sions to 99g/km and claims 65.7mpg.

The Viva looked good in red and im­pressed me by the amount of space it of­fered.

De­spite its com­pact di­men­sions, there is room for two adults in the back and the 206 litre boot could be be in­creased to 1,013 litres with the rear 60/40 split seats folded flat.

Vaux­hall have kept the in­te­rior sim­ple with clear di­als and in­stru­ments all well po­si­tioned for easy use. The dash­board is one of the best in this class although the plas­tics are a bit hard.

There is no doubt that the Viva is re­ally at home in town but it is also a use­ful tool out on the open road. Long steep in­clines can prove a drag if you have a few adults in the car but a quick gear change sorts that out.

The Viva pro­vides a com­fort­able ride and the three­cylin­der en­gine is only noisy when you re­ally push it hard.

All Viva mod­els are packed with a com­pre­hen­sive range of safety fea­tures, in­clud­ing an­tilock brakes, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity pro­gramme, a tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem, trac­tion con­trol, lane de­par­ture warn­ing sys­tem as well as nu­mer­ous air bags.

The city car class is crowded with ev­ery man­u­fac­turer fight­ing for sales but the Viva is still an im­por­tant ad­di­tion.

It may not be as trendy as some of its op­po­si­tion but I like its no non­sense ap­proach to value for money mo­tor­ing.

Vaux­hall al­ready has the Adam and Corsa in the small car sec­tor and the Viva means that the com­pany now has all the bases cov­ered.

New for old the new Viva is pic­tured with the orig­i­nal 60s

ver­sion

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