Vauxhall Viva Review

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.

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This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Smart looks
  • Cheap to buy and run
  • Generous standard equipment

What's not so good

  • Noisy on the motorway
  • Small boot
  • Lacks VW levels of quality

Vauxhall Viva: what would you like to read next?

Is the Vauxhall Viva a good car?

The Viva 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.

It doesn't do anything particularly badly but doesn't have the sparkle of the best in class

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Fuel economy of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km mean the Viva is cheap to run.

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

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.

How practical is it?

The Vauxhall Viva is one of the best cars of its type, if you just want to carry people, but some of that passenger space has come at the expense of boot space

Credit to Vauxhall, they've seen how people use use cars like the Viva and made sure that there are plenty of spaces to stash odds and ends in the cabin

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
206 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,013 litres

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. Add to that a couple of cupholders, door pockets big enough for a bottle of water and smaller storage areas suitable for your keys and wallet – and the Viva makes a good account of itself in terms of interior storage.

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.

What's it like to drive?

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.

It's not bad at slower speeds and will work perfectly well as a city car

Mat Watson
carwow expert

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.

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.

Vauxhall claims to have set the Viva up to be able to handle the UK’s rutted poor quality roads. In general, it lives up to this billing with a compliant ride quality that protects passengers from the harshest impacts while also keeping body roll well contained.

Despite this, its handling isn’t brilliant. The steering doesn’t give you a great sense of what’s going on at the front wheels while the car lacks the levels of agility that come naturally in rivals such as the VW Up and Hyundai i10.

What's it like inside?

Get behind the wheel of the Vauxhall Viva and you’ll spot many design cues taken from the Vauxhall Adam and the Corsa.

Next Read full interior review
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RRP £9,275 - £12,250
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