Publication date: 2 June 2015
Vauxhall Viva

Vauxhall Viva

Vivid little Vauxhall

Review - This is the Vauxhall Viva. The Viva may be the smallest Vauxhall, but it claims to be as solid and thoughtful as itsĀ  bigger relatives. To prove it, Autozine and the Viva went on a road trip together.

The Viva is the smallest and cheapest car Vauxhall currently offers. But, when it comes to the Viva, it is only inferior to the other models in size. The Viva has the same mature look and premium build quality as its relatives, which immediately puts it ahead of entry-level models from other brands.

Vauxhall Viva


Moreover, with a length of 368 cm, the Viva is a size bigger than other compact cars (they are on average 3 metres 50). This extra length mainly benefits the space in the back seat. Don't expect too much, but the head and legroom are just a bit better than average. Also very nice: Viva offers five doors as standard, three seats in the rear and two ISOFIX attachment points.

Luggage space is very average at 215. However, by using the space of the rear seats, this increases to an above-average 1,013 litres. Unfortunately, Vauxhall skimped on the rear shelf: it does not hinge with the tailgate. Users have to move the rear shelf up and down themselves, and when forgotten, visibility in the rear view mirror is nil.

Vauxhall Viva
Vauxhall Viva


Up front, it is noticeable that the Viva offers more headroom than usual. So big drivers on a small budget should definitely get acquainted with this little car!

To ensure that the Viva is not inferior to its relatives, much of the equipment of the larger models is also available on the Viva. Standard features include cruise control, "City Mode Driving" (extra light steering during e.g. parking (beware of premature tyre wear!) and "Hill Start Assist" (prevents rolling backwards when pulling away on a slope).

The more expensive versions come with "Lane Departure Warning" (warning when changing lanes without indicating direction), corner lights (left or right wide-beam illuminates the corner when turning), parking aid and a speed limiter, among other features.


In terms of "infotainment", the Viva is even ahead of other Vauxhalls! For a start, the Viva can be fitted with a DAB+ tuner, for digital radio. Thanks to a set of tweeters in the A-pillars, the sound of the audio system is richer and more spacious than usual in a car like this.

Much more importantly, the Viva can be linked to the smart phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. With this, Vauxhall rightly says goodbye to the old "IntelliLink", which proved to be a dead end. A test with Apple CarPlay shows that in practice it is as effective and simple as any Apple product. Android Auto was not yet available in Europe at the time of writing.

Vauxhall Viva


Regardless of the version chosen, the Viva is always powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. This is derived from the 1.0-litre turbo engine that Vauxhall supplies in the Corsa and Adam. The "turbo-free" version of the Viva develops 75 hp / 95 Nm (compared to 90 hp / 170 Nm for the Corsa).

To still achieve good performance, Vauxhall has chosen unusual gearbox ratios. First gear is extremely short, partly to make pulling away in mountainous areas easy. However, this makes smooth acceleration from standstill quite difficult.

Vauxhall Viva

In the process, fifth gear is unusually short. 100 km/h means 3,000 rpm, which makes the Viva less comfortable and less economical on long distances. Because of the high revs, the Viva absolutely does not invite to drive on the motorway. Only when the maximum speed is limited to around 90 km/h is the Viva actually economical.

The good news is: thanks to these gearbox ratios and thanks to its relatively low weight, the Viva is eager and playful. Other small cars are often tuned for low consumption and therefore feel unwilling, whereas the Viva is downright lively for a car in this segment.

Vauxhall Viva


More good news: to ensure that the Viva feels solid and solid, Vauxhall has also given its benjamin a firm suspension. With this, comfort on (very) bad road surfaces is sometimes a little less, but roadholding is top notch in all cases. The Viva steers very directly and simply does not allow itself to be pushed off course.

This is not only very safe, but also makes for a lot of driving fun. The Viva never feels like being smaller or cheaper than the rest, but instead feels more agile and smart.

Vauxhall Viva


Vauxhall introduces the Viva (shown as Opel Karl in the pictures): the smallest and cheapest Vauxhall at the moment. The concept behind Viva is no different from other small cars. Like other little ones, the Viva is economical to buy and run thanks to its modest size. And like other little cars, the Viva extracts maximum interior space from minimal exterior dimensions.

What makes the Viva different is the familiar recipe. Like the other Vauxhalls, the Viva feels solid and well thought-out. The finish quality is hardly inferior to the larger models, and what's more, the Viva brings higher-end technology to an entry-level model.

  • Rich equipment
  • Decent handling
  • Solid, mature feel
  • Awkward shelf construction
  • Promised low consumption difficult to achieve
  • Substantial lift threshold for luggage compartment