The small city car, which will go up against a growing pool of talented rivals including the Skoda Citigo and new Toyota Aygo, revives the Vauxhall Viva name after a 35-year absence. It’s been designed to slot below the stylish Adam and popular Corsa superminis in an ever-expanding Vauxhall range.
Set to replace the now defunct Agila, the Vauxhall Viva will offer “an extremely attractive price point”. Managing director Tim Tozer said: “This car is the entry point to the Vauxhall range. Sub-£7,000 will be hard, but it will begin with a seven. And the car will have proper, not pop-out, rear windows.”
Vauxhall claims there is more than enough room for five people inside, but if carrying passengers isn’t your main concern, it’ll also be available with only four seats – allowing for more shoulder room for adults in the rear. Legroom should be good, too, given that the Vauxhall is 15mm longer than the new Hyundai i10, and a whopping 200mm longer than the Peugeot 108.
On the outside, the front end echoes the latest Corsa’s with swept-back headlights and a bold single-bar grille, while the rear offers few surprises. Down the side, Vauxhall has included three sharp creases in the bodywork, with a high shoulder line that rises at the back.
Inside, the Viva has taken a leaf out of the Adam’s book with an upmarket and stylish layout. High-spec models get the familiar IntelliLink infotainment system, allowing owners to seamlessly link their smartphone with the car’s central display. The model you can see in these pictures features a leather steering wheel and half-leather seats, showing that Vauxhall has its sights set high for the reinvented Viva. But even top-spec cars shouldn’t cost much more than £10,000.
Just one engine will be made available from launch, and our sources at Vauxhall confirmed this will be the only option for the foreseeable future. It’s a specially developed 1.0-litre three-cylinder ECOTEC with 74bhp. It’ll be teamed with a five-speed manual box and, due to the car’s size and weight, should offer sprightly performance.
Economy and emissions figures will be released at a later date, but we’re expecting the small petrol unit to crack 70mpg and emit less than 100g/km of CO2 for tax-free motoring.
While the Viva name will be reserved for UK buyers, the car will also be sold in mainland Europe badged as the Opel Karl. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that Vauxhall and Opel will use different names for a car in this country and on the Continent.
Although Vauxhall and Opel versions will use the same 1.0-litre engine, we can expect Brit-registered cars to be slightly plusher inside. Safety should be better, too, with UK models getting ESP, ABS and hill-start assist as standard. Further safety options, such as lane-departure warning, will feature on the options list.
Vauxhall has high hopes for its revamped small car range, hoping to capitalise on Ford’s current weak spots. Tozer said: “We have three small cars and Ford doesn’t. I don’t think it’s a great idea to say can we outsell Ford, but we can give it a good run for its money.”
The original Viva was one of Vauxhall’s most popular cars between 1963 and 1979. At the time, the small saloon rivalled established models like the Ford Anglia and Morris Minor, selling more than 1.5 million units in just over 15 years. It was replaced by the Astra at the end of the seventies, long before the family car ballooned into the Volkswagen Golf rival we know today.
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