Those of a certain age may remember the original Vauxhall Viva. Three generations of Luton’s Ford Anglia/Escort rival were built between 1963 and 1979.
Despite over 1.5 million rolling off the production line, it is best remembered, if at all, for rampant rust. Less than a thousand are still on the road.
Anyway, the Viva is back, this time as a 5-door hatchback city car. Stood 3.68m long, it’ll do battle with the Citroen C1, Volkswagen up! and Renault Twingo.
Vauxhall has thrown a lot of styling at the Viva, with three separate creases down the sides, and a big chrome bar across the grille. But it all works, the Viva looking more grown up than some of its competitors.
Under the bonnet there’s a single choice; a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol producing 74bhp. Power goes to the front wheels via a 5-speed gearbox. Vauxhall calls the powertrain “smooth, punchy and efficient.”
The handling has been “developed to provide exceptional safety and class-leading comfort.” That may or may not translate to an enjoyable experience, but the larger Adam and Corsa are reasonably spirited to drive.
The Viva comes equipped with smartphone integration, traction control and hill start assist. A City mode lightens the steering. Lane departure warning, a sunroof and heated seats are on the options list.
Vauxhall MD, Tim Tozer, said: “Short, crisp and full of character, Vauxhall’s new entry-level model is a ‘proper’ small car and will hold great appeal in this rapidly growing sector.”
Prices are expected to start at around £7,500 when the Vauxhall Viva goes on sale next Spring.