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
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?
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
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.
It’s a cheaper solution that generally works well, but the interface can be slow to react.
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.
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.
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
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.
|Hyundai i10 1.0 SE
|Vauxhall Viva SL
|Suzuki Celerio SZ4
|On-the-road price/total as tested
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel
|40 litres/repair kit
|32 litres/repair kit
|35 litres/repair kit
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)
|Turning circle/drag coefficient
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery
|Service intervals/UK dealers
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th
|50-70mph in 5th/6th
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket
|Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control
|Climate control/leather/heated seats
|Metallic paint/xenons/keyless go