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Verdict: Frugal engines, car-like refinement and a practical load area are key Vivaro attractions

Vauxhall, Vivaro, front
The new Vivaro is built at the Luton plant, so you could say it has real Brit appeal

THE Vauxhall Vivaro is a rebadged Renault Trafic right? Wrong! They may look the same but there are some significant differences between the two and Vauxhall was dead keen to tell us all about them at the launch in Luton.

The Trafic is made at Sandouville in France and features parts sourced from the Continent, whereas the Vivaro is made at the UK’s last remaining van plant at Luton and 40% of the parts come from the UK.So the new Vauxhall Vivaro carries a big made in Britain appeal.

So the new Vauxhall Vivaro carries a big made in Britain appeal.

Vauxhall has invested £185 million in the plant in readiness for this new van and expects to churn out 50,000 Vivaros in the first year of production alone. Some 52% of these vans are expected to be exported.

Brand manager Steve Bryant told us: “We started building the Vivaro at Luton in 2001 and since then nearly a million vehicles have been made here. Building the Vivaro here in the UK is worth £140 million a year for the UK economy as it means 1,200 jobs and 40% of the parts are sourced within a 100-mile radius of the Luton plant.

“Our investment in the plant means we will be offering a range of bespoke fleet conversions, which means they will all be warrantied in one under the Vauxhall banner.”

That could be an important point, especially for anyone who has bought a van in the past and had it converted later, only to find that when there is a warranty problem, they get passed from manufacturer to converter and back again (several times!) – see our news story.

Vauxhall, Vivaro, van
The Vivaro looks more similar to the outgoing van from the back.

The van has a new exterior (at the front at least), a totally redesigned cab and dash and new engines.

There are also a host of really good ideas on board such as the cab turning into a mobile office, a hi-tech system in which the van can link up with a driver’s tablet or smartphone and special systems which enhance the van’s load carrying capacity, such as a flap in the bulkhead which means that loads up to four metres in length can be carried.

Gone is that familiar lump in the roof of the cab. It was there originally to give the driver and passengers extra headroom but there is no need for it now as the seat has been dropped by 36mm and the steering wheel put at a sharper angle to give the feel of an MPV rather than a commercial vehicle.

The old 2.0-litre common rail diesel units have been consigned to history, to be replaced by a more diminutive 1.6-litre unit which is around 5.8% more economical than the old units.

Four options are available, two with a single turbocharger two with twin turbo.

The singles have power outputs of 90bhp and 115bhp while the twins offer 120bhp and 140bhp. The more powerful units work by having a first low inertia turbo that gives high torque at low speeds, meaning swift getaway even with full loads on board.

The second turbo cuts in at higher revs. These engines also have standard stop-start units which can save up to 15% on fuel on urban usage.

Fuel economy, meanwhile, is 40.3-47.9mpg while CO2 outputs range from 155g/km to 185g/km. Torque figures improve too and range from 260-340Nm.

Verdict: Frugal engines, car-like refinement and a practical load area are key Vivaro attractions

Vauxhall, Vivaro, interior
Sturdy, well-built interior of the new Vauxhall Vivaro

What’s Hot?

  • Come on, let’s hear it for England! We may be rubbish at football, but the lads at Luton have done us proud to build this van with so many local bits.
  • And after all that, Vauxhall still manages to undercut Renault by £250 on its cheapest model.
  • The RV guides such as CAP and Glass’s are predicting a residual premium of around £1,000 over the old model. That means you’ll get more for this van when you sell it.
  •  In addition to the better fuel economy from the smaller 1.6-litre engine, the new van gets Electronic Stability Control, which helps prevent sideways skids, as standard along with power windows.
  • Vauxhall reckons that fuel savings of up to 23% are achievable over the old model, thanks to a stop-start system and an ECO button on the dash which cuts the power down slightly but improves fuel economy.  We tried this feature on our test drive and while it gives the van a rather sluggish feel, we found that by pressing the button once at cruising speed on A roads, we could hardly feel any difference.

What’s not?

  • Despite Vauxhall’s boast about better build quality, the firm only offers a three year/100,000 mile warranty against Renault’s four year/100,000 mile one. Mind you, if the van is built that well, there shouldn’t be any warranty problems anyway.
  •  The old Vivaro was about best in class when it came to ride and handling but we feel that the new Transit Custom nudges ahead by a nose in the drivability stakes. It’s a close thing but the Tranny has a crispness about it that the Vivaro can’t quite match.

Verdict: Frugal engines, car-like refinement and a practical load area are key Vivaro attractions

Vauxhall, Vivaro, van, side
Vauxhall is planning on offering an impressive choice of Vivaro versions

Business Vans Verdict

We always reckoned the old Vivaro was the best van on the roads for drivability and despite our comment above regarding the Transit Custom, most drivers will be quite happy with what’s on offer with this new model.

The extra fuel economy will save thousands of pounds over the van’s life, plus the clever stowage and all those handy gadgets will be much appreciated by the van driving community.


On the road price (ex-VAT)£17,995-£23,145
Load length1,387mm
Load width (max)1,662mm
Load height1,545-2,100mm
Load capacity5.2-7.2 cu metres
Payload839-1,440 kg
GVW2,740-3,010 kg
Towing capacity braked/unbraked2000/750kg
Engines1.6-litre 4 cylinder common rail diesel
Economy (combined)40.3-47.9mpg
CO2 emissions155-185 g/km


More on the Vauxhall Vivaro

Read our Editor’s view here



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