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Car group tests

Vauxhall Viva vs Hyundai i10 vs Suzuki Celerio

Vauxhall's Viva is back on the road, having been born as a city car. We see how it fares against Hyundai and Suzuki rivals

History has a habit of repeating itself, and 36 years after Vauxhall’s famous Viva nameplate bowed out, it’s back and gracing the bootlid of the British manufacturer’s latest city car

Just like MINI, and Fiat with its 500, Vauxhall is hoping an injection of retro charm with the Viva name can send its new compact five-door to the top of the value-focused city car sector. The Viva goes back to basics with a no-frills, budget approach to motoring – yet you still get plenty of kit for your cash with the top-spec SL model we’re testing here, so it offers appealing value for money. But is this enough?

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This sector of the market is already incredibly crowded. The Viva faces stiff competition from the well equipped, cheap and frugal Suzuki Celerio, as well as one of our favourite city cars, the practical and more premium Hyundai i10.

Our non-turbo 1.0-litre trio all come in under £10,000, and while they might not necessarily set pulses racing, they certainly make financial sense. But which one offers the best all-round package? We drove the Vauxhall, Suzuki and Hyundai in the heart of the city to find out.

Head to head

Technology

As the new kid on the block, the Viva boasts the most advanced connectivity. It gets Bluetooth, but opt for the £425 IntelliLink infotainment, and sat-nav is also available. The set-up uses BringGo – a 99p iPhone and Android app.

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It’s a cheaper solution that generally works well, but the interface can be slow to react.

Adaptability

These cars spend most time in town, but it’s nice to know they can cope beyond the city limits.

All three contenders have a wider range of talents than you might think, but the i10 comes out on top, with grown-up road manners, a smart, roomy cabin and a competitive boot capacity.

Stand-out looks

Strong value is a theme of this trio, but the city car sector is so crowded that style is crucial, too. The Viva’s design shines brightest, and the i10 has the most upmarket appearance inside and out. Yet the Celerio looks more utilitarian.

Verdict

1st place: Hyundai i10

It’s the most expensive car here, but the i10 hits back with stronger residuals, cheaper servicing and insurance. Add adequate performance, plenty of practicality and an excellent Driver Power result, and it secures victory. Higher CO2 emissions mean it’ll cost business users a tiny bit more to run, but this is offset by savings elsewhere. It’s the best car to drive and the most refined choice, too.

2nd place: Vauxhall Viva

Great safety, affordable servicing and lower depreciation see the Viva relegate the Celerio to third. However, if running costs are more important, dropping down to the cheaper SE trim with Vauxhall’s 99g/km CO2 ecoFLEX engine will save you money – then it undercuts the Suzuki and matches its efficiency. You lose climate control, but use the cash to add IntelliLink.

3rd place: Suzuki Celerio

The Celerio is a genuinely cheap and cheerful car. There’s a refreshing honesty to the way it drives, and it backs that up with good performance. But the tempting price can’t counter the three-star crash-test rating, dull design or Suzuki’s poor Driver Power results. In a sector where ownership cost is key, higher insurance and servicing bills mean the price isn’t as attractive as it initially appears.

Other options in this category...

Skoda Citigo SE 5dr 1.0 60

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Price: £9,485 Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl, 59bhp

VW Group budget brand Skoda’s five-door Citigo is well matched here. While SE trim trails on kit, with air-con the highlight, the car arguably matches the i10 for style and refinement. Practicality is strong and performance adequate.

Renault Twingo Play SCe 70

Price: £9,995 Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl 69bhp

Despite having its engine in the rear, the Twingo has a bigger boot than the Viva, at 219 litres. Space inside is more limited, but five doors give easy access. Funky graphics add flair, while the incredibly tight turning circle makes it easy to drive in town.

Figures

 Hyundai i10 1.0 SEVauxhall Viva SLSuzuki Celerio SZ4
On-the-road price/total as tested£9,975/£10,665£9,495/£10,040£8,999/£9,414
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£4,950/49.6%£4,300/45.3%£3,600/40.0%
Depreciation£5,025£5,195£5,399
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£317/£635£283/£566£250/£501
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,488/£2,479£1,587/£2,644£1,786/£2,977
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost1/£340/B/£204/£349/B/£207/£370/A/£0
Servicing costs£349 (3yrs)£476 (3yrs)£549 (3yrs)
    
Length/wheelbase3,665/2,385mm3,675/2,385mm3,600/2,425mm
Height/width1,500/1,660mm1,485/1,595mm1,540/1,600mm
Engine3cyl in-line/998cc3cyl in-line/999cc3cyl in-line/998cc
Peak power 65/5,500 bhp/rpm74/6,500 bhp/rpm67/6,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 95/3,500 Nm/rpm95/4,500 Nm/rpm90/3,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission 5-spd man/fwd5-spd man/fwd5-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel40 litres/repair kit32 litres/repair kit35 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 252/1,046 litres206/1,013 litres254/726 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight933/487kg/N/A939/489kg/N/A835/425/400kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient9.6 metres/0.31Cd10.4 metres/0.33Cd9.4 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery5yrs (unltd)/5yrs3yrs (60,000)/1yr3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers10,000 (1yr)/16220,000 (1yr)/4049,000 (1yr)/149
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.21st/17th30th/19th31st/31st
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars79/80/71/56/474/72/68/64/461/74/68/N/A/3
    
0-60/30-70mph13.9/15.2 secs13.5/14.3 secs11.9/13.0 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 6.8/10.7 secs7.5/10.6 secs7.7/11.8 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 12.3/15.7 secs11.2/17.4 secs13.9/23.0 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 96mph/3,400rpm106mph/3,400rpm96mph/2,800rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 53.0/38.7/10.1m52.5/37.8/10.2m53.7/39.3/9.9m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph69/51/65/73dB71/53/64/74dB69/54/69/74dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range40.1/8.8/353 miles37.6/8.3/265 miles33.4/7.4/257 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 47.1/70.6/60.1mpg50.4/72.4/62.8mpg55.3/76.3/65.7mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 10.4/15.5/13.2mpl11.1/15.9/13.8mpl11.7/16.8/14.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket189/108g/km/16%201/104g/km/15%227/99g/km/14%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park. sensors/cameraSix/yes/no/noSix/yes/£275/noSix/yes/no/no
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/yesNo/yes/yes£800/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seatsAir-con/no/£195^Yes/no/£150Air-con/no/no
Metallic paint/xenons/keyless go£515/no/no£545/no/no£415/no/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothNo/yes/no/£175£425*/y/£425*/yNo/yes/yes/yes
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