Viva La Vida Vauxhall

GOING for the jugular in the cute, cheap and cheerful small car market is Vauxhall's Viva, which should reach showrooms this month, writes William Scholes.

It is perfect first car territory, and Vauxhall is unashamedly aiming for established players like the Hyundai i10, Volkswagen Up, Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1.

It could not be accused of talking down the Viva's prospects, including boasting of "a level of quality that confounds at a sub-£8k entry price".

Value for money is a big part of the Viva proposition, as are its five-door convenience and apparent space for five passengers. Prices range from £7,995 to £9,495.

"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," said Vauxhall boss Tim Tozer.

As is becoming the norm in baby cars, the Viva gets a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet.

There's no need to fear, though - this not one of Vauxhall's horrible clattery old units but a brand new high-tech engine which, if the company's recent efforts are anything to go by, should be rather good indeed.

Vauxhall says that in the Viva it produces 74bhp and is capable of fuel economy of up to 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km.

The Viva is well kitted out, including the availability of Vauxhall's IntelliLink infotainment system which allows Apple iOS and Android devices to be integrated into the car.

Tyre pressure monitoring system, city mode steering, lane departure warning, cruise control with speed limiter and front fog lights with cornering function are standard, as is hill start assist, six airbags, electric front windows, electric/heated mirrors and remote central door locking.

Ten paintwork colours will be offered, and customers can choose from a range of 15- and 16-inch wheels.

For me, a slightly puzzling note is the decision to name this new small car after a model last sold in 1979. Vauxhall's claim that the 2015 Viva shares "the original's philosophy of clean lines, durability and practicality" doesn't quite seem to explain why they thought it was a nameplate that needed to be revived for a new audience...

Nonetheless, on paper the Viva sounds rather promising and if Vauxhall has managed to infuse it with the same qualities that have made the latest Corsa such an impressive car, it should be very good indeed.

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