Vauxhall Viva

Small city car with lots of standard equipment

This is the average score given by leading car publications from 11 reviews
  • Smart looks
  • Cheap to buy and run
  • Generous standard equipment
  • Noisy on the motorway
  • Small boot
  • Lacks VW levels of quality

£8,965 - £10,365 Price range


5 Seats


62 - 65 MPG


The Vauxhall Viva is a small city car that rivals the likes of the Hyundai i10, Volkswagen Up and Peugeot 108. As with its competition, the Viva offers cheap running costs and small dimensions that make it perfect for driving in town.

Prices start from £8,965 and if you buy your Viva using carwow you can save £530 on average.

It might be small, but it makes the most of the space it does offer. Unlike rivals (including the Up), the Viva only comes with five doors, allowing excellent access to the back seats. Six-footers fit easily in the front and someone of similar size can squeeze in the back, too. Its 206-litre boot is, however, about 50 litres off the best in class.

Keeping things simple, the Viva is only available with one engine – a 1.0-litre petrol with 74hp. It hauls the Vauxhall from 0-62mph in 13.1 seconds – enough to make the car feel fairly nippy around town. It’s not the quietest cruiser on the motorway, however.

Fuel economy of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km (translating in a £20 annual tax bill) mean the Viva is cheap to run.

Although the basic car does without air-conditioning (a £400 option), it is well equipped for the class – cruise control, remote-central locking, electrically adjustable door mirrors and a trip computer are all fitted as standard.

Why not check out the colours available using our Vauxhall Viva colours guide and see if it offers enough interior space with our Vauxhall Viva dimensions guide.

Cheapest to buy: 1.0-litre SE petrol

Cheapest to run: 1.0-litre EcoFLEX petrol

Fastest model: 1.0-litre SE petrol

Most popular model: 1.0-litre SE petrol

Get behind the wheel of the Vauxhall Viva and you’ll spot many design cues taken from the Vauxhall Adam and the Corsa. The layout is clear and simple to use, but doesn’t offer the same quality feel as a Volkswagen Up. It also misses out on some of that car’s flair, such as the body-coloured plastics that brighten up its interior.

From 2016, Viva buyers will be able to specify Vauxhall’s Intellilink touchscreen infotainment system. It offers sat-nav (which can be programmed remotely via a Vauxhall call centre), can play music directly from your smart phone, and is compatible with many apps from Apple and Android.

Vauxhall Viva passenger space

One of the biggest selling points of the Viva (at this price) is its standard five-door layout. This means passengers don’t need to squeeze behind the front seats to access the rear, and it gives better access for fitting child seats. The back seat is also pretty roomy with space for six-foot adults, although it’s no more spacious than a VW Up. The Up, however, offers more room for a third passenger in the middle.

The Viva has plenty of storage spaces dotted around the cabin and, unlike in the Peugeot 108, the glovebox is a useful size.

Vauxhall Viva boot space

Some of the Vauxhall’s passenger room has come at the expense of boot space meaning the Viva’s 206-litre boot falls behind the best in class, including the VW Up (251 litres) and the Suzuki Celerio (254 litres). Folding the rear seats down in the Vauxhall reveals an impressive total capacity of 1,013 litres.

The Viva has been built with city driving in mind and, in this respect, it excels. It has light steering and visibility is excellent so it’s easy to weave the car through congested streets and simple to park when you arrive at your destination. Rear parking sensors – a £275 option – make it even easier to reverse into tight spaces.

Although the engine feels strained at motorway speeds (the Volkswagen Up is quieter at a cruise), the Vauxhall has plenty of pace to keep up with traffic in town.

The five-speed manual gearbox, like the rest of the car’s controls, is light and easy to use. An automatic option will join the range in 2016.

With just 74hp, the Viva’s engine is far from a powerhouse, but that’s only really a problem on motorways and fast-moving A roads. You’ll need plenty of space for safe overtakes or a gearchange to make it up a steep hill.

The payoff for its lethargic performance is extremely low running costs. The basic Viva can return healthy fuel economy of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km, so the little car costs just £20 a year to tax.

For even lower running costs, you can always choose the EcoFLEX model. It has low-rolling resistance tyres and some minor aerodynamic improvements to push fuel economy up to 70mpg and make the car free to tax.

The Viva was safety tested by Euro NCAP and it scored , but it includes six airbags, anti-lock brakes and a stability control system that will stop the car spinning during high-speed emergency manoeuvres.

The Volkswagen Up (and many other cars in this class) were awarded the full five stars from Euro NCAP when they were tested and there’s no reason Vauxhall can’t do the same.

The Vauxhall offers excellent value for money because it’s better equipped and cheaper than the VW Up. All models come with cruise control, remote-central locking, electrically adjustable door mirrors and a trip computer. The basic model does without air-conditioning and smart-looking alloy wheels, though.

For about £2,000 more, the top-of-the-range SL model solves that problem. It adds climate control, a USB port and Bluetooth, 15-inch alloy wheels and a leather-covered steering wheel that feels nicer than the rubber-coated one in cheaper models.

Vauxhall’s lifetime warranty (it covered the car for five years or 100,000 miles) has been scrapped, so if you’re looking for years of worry-free motoring the Kia Picanto is a better bet. It offers a class-leading seven-year/100,000-mile warranty instead of the Viva’s three-year/60,000-mile plan.


If you’re looking for a city car that’s fun-to-drive in town and not a pain on the motorway, then the VW Up is still the class leader. However, it’s significantly more expensive than the Vauxhall, comes with less equipment and only has three-doors as standard.

In other words, if value for money is your main concern, the Vauxhall makes a very strong case for itself.

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