Viva the Vauxhall Viva

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VIVA: Back on Britain’s roads.

IT’S been nearly 40 years since the Vauxhall Viva was launched, and the new model still offers the same practical, economical motoring.

For some time back in the 70s, family transport typically came in the shape of a Vauxhall Viva, which was available in a particularly unattractive pale green or mud brown paint job.

Boyhood recollections of this particular car are somewhat limited, the huge Ford Cortina Mk I which preceded it, and the much more exciting looking Triumph Herald which came later, both made more lasting impressions.

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Other than that, to a young child with more of an interest in cars of the Matchbox variety, it was a pretty unremarkable car.

Google informs us that there were three generations of Viva that Vauxhall produced, the first having appeared in 1963, and it was the last of the company’s cars to be totally designed in the United Kingdom.

Four decades later, though, the Viva name is back on Britain’s roads – reincarnated to replace the Agila as the entry-level model in the Vauxhall range. Of course,  the new Viva is a different car for a different age. In 2016 the new version lends itself more to the role of a second car for family buyers, but will also appeal to city dwellers and older folk, perhaps looking to downsize after the family have fled the nest.

It comes in two trim levels, SE and the SL, and power coming from just one engine – a 1.0 litre, three-cylinder petrol unit which kicks out a modest 75bhp and boasts impressive average fuel economy of 62.8 miles per gallon. 

As you’d expect, performance is steady rather than sporty but is perky enough in town traffic, and with a UK entry price of £9,495 (€12,000), it will hardly break the bank.

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