The Vauxhall Viva Rocks is just a standard Viva with chunky looks and raised suspension. It’s easy to drive and has decent passenger space for a small car, but the boot’s impractical
The Viva Rocks certainly won’t rock your world like its name implies, but it’s not a bad shout if you’re looking for a city car with chunky styling and suspension that’ll make short work of speed bumps.
It’s based on the regular Viva but has suspension that has been raised by 18mm, new front and rear bumpers and roof rails that mean it is easy to fit a roof box. If you’re looking for a truly funky looking small car, however, you might want to consider the Suzuki Ignis.
The Ignis’ interior can’t match the Viva Rock’s interior in terms of build quality, however. Its interior is impressively well put together for an inexpensive small car, with consistent gaps between trim pieces and plastics that are hard but not too cheap looking. That said, there are some nasty plastics on the insides of the doors which do let the side down.
The design is smart though, with sporty-looking dials and shiny black plastic trim pieces around the stereo and air vents.
As well as looking decent, you’ll find the Viva Rocks’ dashboard is really intuitive, with big knobs to control the ventilation system and the stereo, which makes them easy to adjust when you’re on the move.
And they’re the only distractions you really have to worry about because the R 4.0 IntelliLink sat-nav system is a £935 option you’re unlikely to go for when a free phone app will do exactly the same thing.
On a more positive note, you’ll have no trouble getting a comfortable driving position in the Vauxhall. The Viva Rocks has a height adjustable driver’s seat and the steering wheel sits at a comfortable distance from your body, although it only adjusts for height.
The Viva Rocks has a new name and chunkier styling, but underneath it’s not really that different to the more affordable standard Viva
The Viva isn’t quite as spacious in the back as it is up front, but passengers get an okay amount of room considering it’s a small, five-door car. It has enough knee room for two average-sized adults to sit in the back and there’s plenty of headroom. But if you’re tall, or often carry big passengers then a Suzuki Ignis will be roomier in the back.
The Vauxhall has to concede defeat to the Suzuki in terms of boot space, too – the Rocks’ load bay is noticeably smaller than the Ignis’, although the Vauxhall’s boot floor is flatter when you drop the rear seats.
More positive news comes when you drive the Vauxhall on its home turf – in the city. The Viva Rocks’ raised suspension gives you a better view out than you get from the standard Viva and helps it soak up humps without you having to worry about scraping the bottom of the car. The 1.0-litre 75hp petrol engine isn’t exactly quick, but it is nippy enough for the city and is cheap to run.
The Rocks is even quite fun to drive thanks to the snickety gearbox and nicely weighted steering that can be made lighter at the touch of the button to make parking a doddle – not that you need much help given the Viva’s tiny size.
At higher speeds, the Viva Rocks copes reasonably well. Its suspension takes the edge off big bumps and the Vauxhall doesn’t roll as much in corners as a Suzuki Ignis. On top of that, you can expect the Rocks – which performed well in crash tests – to be a little bit safer than the Ignis.
That’s the kind of thing that could swing the Rocks into your favour if you’re buying a new small family car, but the Rocks’ main problem is convincing you to buy it over a regular Viva that’s almost exactly the same and costs almost £2,000 less.