I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Monday, 1 August 2016

TMW - The 2016 Vauxhall Viva, new car, old name, but dont be confused, this is a great car to drive and own.

Ok, who remembers the Vauxhall Viva from the the 60's and 70's, the family saloon cars that sold in excess of 1.5 million, sold around the world and was even built in Uruguay, well, I do,  I even had a 1977 Vauxhall Viva 1.3 Deluxe, the HC model, and it was great, it was my first car and I really loved it, loads of room, plenty of poke, and cheap to run and insure for an 18 year old.

But I Digress, the years passed and Vauxhall had a plethora of models that followed the Viva, right up to today, with the all New Viva, it is a global car with Opel and Chevy having their own versions, but the ethos remains the same, a good, cheap car that has plenty of room, runs well, cheap to own and does not look like the back end of a horse.

And thats where the new Viva wins, it looks good to start with, it is a compact design but does not do away with some nice styling touches, the interior has oodles of room to suit four big adults or a three kids in the back, you could fit three adults in the back but it would be a touch tight, but it can be done, room up front, is really good, you can move the seat about and the steering wheel so you get a perfect seating position, and once there, everything is at hand, no reaching out for switches or buttons here.

The dash is built to a price, so it is hard plastics, but then do you really fondle the dashboard at every opportunity, no, no one does, the fascination of hard plastics and soft plastics to me is an irrelevancy, it is how it looks and the design of it thats more important, and it scores well there too, you get a glove box thats sufficient to take a few smaller items, and door pockets that can take bottle of drink, books etc, being up front in this car is a nice place to be.

The higher roofline is also a nice extra and you feel like the interior is very roomy and airy, and you never feel claustrophobic even with a car full of people, the nice solid steering wheel, solid feeling gearstick, handbrake and switchgear all give you an air of quality, and you would not think that this car is an £8.5k car, far from it.

The doors shut with a tinnie thunk, rather than a solid thunk, as you would find on say the Astra, but the car is well priced, so things have to be omitted or reduced to keep it within that price scale to make it financially successful, but that does not mean it is not well kitted out, again, far from it, and the kit you get in the car includes :-

  • Anti Lock Brakes
  • Electronic Stability Programme with Traction Control
  • Complete Set of airbags
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Electronic Engine Deadlock Immobiliser
  • Speed Sensitive Power Assisted Steering with City Mode
  • Electric Front Windows
  • Cruise Control
  • Trip Computer
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Steering Wheel Mounted Audio Controls
  • Remote Control Central Deadlocking 

Just a small sample of the kit added to this car as standard, the only option our test car had was the Air Conditioning at £495, Which worked really really well, as it was the hottest day of the year when we did the test, the added air con added to the price to take it a shade over £9,000, still not a lot of money for a decent car, yes you can buy cheaper, but you're not buying quality, kit, driveability and more.

On the road the car is very swift, the 1.0 litre engine likes to be revved, and gives all it can to aid you along the road, the engine can be a touch course at higher revs or when you give it beans, but the noise is one of fun, not intrusion, it's a throaty noise that sounds really nice, but drive it sensibly and it is quite a decent powerplant thats reasonably quiet, and efficient.

The car is capable of topping 100 mph, and at a steady 70mph, it is not a bad place to be, you never feel like the car is struggling to keep up with the traffic, and can happily over take at motorways speeds, it may take a second or two longer than bigger engined cars, but it manages it without too much fuss, being a 1.0 litre, it has the advantage of dropping below the 100g/km, but only by one percentage point (99g/km).

Insurance will be cheap too, gaining the band 4E, and fuel consumption claimed by Vauxhall is :-

  • Urban Driving           52.3mpg
  • Extra Urban Driving  76.3mpg
  • Combined Figure      65.7mpg

So, you have a small car, with a small price, with big appeal, loads of kit, cheap to insure and run, get plenty of MPG, and can keep up with traffic at all speeds, really why would you buy anything else, The Viva might seem a little "low Rent" for some, but ignore it at your peril, if you dont need lots of space in the boot, or you do not have a big family, then you can have a brand new car for £8,500, with a great dealer network, and a car that stacks up well against cars in the next level up.

It is a fun car, you can throw it around and you will have a smile on your face when you drive it, it will no doubt be predominantly be used around town and short distances, but it is more than capable of taking on longer journeys and in a certain degree of comfort and peace of mind of knowing it's not going to break the bank.