With the purchase of Vauxhall-Opel by the PSA Group, it was inevitable that the Vauxhall product would become intertwined with the PSA brands of Peugeot & Citroen. Indeed, the Vauxhall Combo Van became the first Vauxhall product to go down this route, with the second, the medium Vivaro van, set to follow suit.
Vauxhall’s all-new Vivaro van heralds a bright future for the company’s Luton plant where the vehicle is built. The PSA Group have invested £100 million in transforming the Luton facility to be capable of producing up to 22 Vivaro’s an hour & after CC&V took a tour of the plant, it’s clear to see that the workers at Luton are itching to get started on building 100,000 vans a year.
The third generation Vivaro medium van is a based on the PSA Group’s EMP2 platform & is available in two lengths; L1H1 4.95m & L2H1 5.30m. Body styles include panel van, doublecab for up to six occupants & a platform chassis.
The Vivaro is available in three trim levels: Edition, Sportive & Elite, with Dual Side Sliding Door, Driver/Passenger Airbags & Cruise Control with speed-limiter all available as standard on Vivaro for the first time.
Sportive models offer higher specification than the outgoing model, with standard equipment including body coloured mirrors, handles & body side moulds, alarm, auto lights & wipers, acoustic windscreen & thickened side glazing. Top-of-the range Elite model features the latest safety technology as standard including Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Information, Intelligent Speed Adaptation, Driver Attention Alert & Blind Spot Detection.
The new Vivaro will also offer up to a 1,458kg payload, 6.6m3 cargo capacity & 2,500kg towing capacity, meaning that the new Vivaro has a payload of 200kg more than its predecessor. The same applies to towing weights: the maximum trailer load is 2,500kg, 500kg more than the outgoing model.
Objects up to 4.02m long can be stowed securely in the 5.30m version thanks to Flex Cargo, an optional load-through flap under the front passenger seat. Adding to its office on wheels credentials, the FlexCargo also allows the back of the middle seat to fold down to become a table for documents, a notebook or a tablet. Automatic side sliding doors are also available for the first time on Vivaro. A foot movement towards the sensors on the vehicle is all that is needed to open the door.
Stability and safety on a variety of slippery surfaces – mud, sand or snow – is provided by the advanced IntelliGrip traction control system (optional) including the work-site set-up comprising higher ground clearance and underbody protection. The Vivaro features ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear aprons. They warn the driver of obstacles when parking and monitor the side blind spot. Depending on the equipment level, the rear-view camera image is displayed either in the interior mirror or on the seven-inch display.
The Multimedia and Multimedia Navi infotainment systems come with a large 7″ touchscreen. Both feature phone integration via Apple CarPlay & Android Auto. Multimedia Navi additionally features European navigation with 3D view.
The all-new Vivaro range features an array of powerful yet frugal engines & smooth transmissions, for low running costs, reduced emissions & maximum efficiency, with all validated & approved to Euro 6D Temp (Euro 6.2) which utilises the more real world representative WLTP emissions cycle. WLTP also takes into consideration options & the impact of payload.
Vauxhall gave us the opportunity to drive the Vivaro both laden & unladen on test route from Luton to Bicester & back. Having driven sister models the Citroen Dispatch & Peugeot Expert, plus the Toyota Proace, which also shares the same platform, the overall look & interior layout of the new Vivaro was familiar to us & both are an improvement over the outgoing model that was based on the Renault Trafic.
The cabin itself is well designed & it’s easy to reach all of the switches & buttons whilst driving, an important consideration for most van users, as is the view from the front which is also excellent. For those reader’s currently running the old Vivaro, the simple fact of the matter is that the new Vivaro is better. It’s newer, better equipped & more practical & this is most clearly felt in the cabin. New Vivaro offers a car like interior with our test model, the Vivaro Elite L1H1 2700 1.5 120 PS Turbo, featuring a multimedia Navi Pro, 7″ colour touchscreen, voice control, DAB radio, Bluetooth audio streaming & mobile phone portal, two USB’s, four speakers & air-con.
It’s easy to get comfortable in the six-way adjustable drivers seat & utilising the multi function steering wheel allows drivers to access the vans multi-function trip computer, infotainment system & safety features such as cruise control & Lane Departure Warning. Vivaro Elite also comes with front & rear parking sensors, a heat reflective acoustic windscreen & a dual passenger front seat with underseat storage.
Apart from the under seat area, customer will benefit from a total of 49-litres of storage space around the cabin, including ubiquitous large door bins, two glove boxes on the passenger side & an A4 sized compartment on top of the dash. The gear stick which sits in the centre of the dash, in common with most panel vans, juts out into the centre passenger area, but importantly, not too far still leaving some decent legroom. Above the gear stick are the climate buttons, which are large & easy to understand. Built in the centre of the dash are the touchscreen & shortcut buttons, with these too some of the easiest in the sector to work with.
On the road, the 1.5 engine is surprisingly nimble & we comfortably kept up with fast moving traffic on the M1. The insulated bulkhead helped to keep the cabin quiet, even without a load in the rear & after connecting my iPhone, I was even able to receive a couple of hands-free calls whilst on the move & not have to shout to be heard. The Vivaro handles well too, with a number of roundabouts en route encouraging us to test this out, a test it passed with aplomb. The six-speed manual gearbox is slick & the clutch is light & overall I was very impressed with how the Vivaro drives. The 1.5 diesel engine also offers a decent return when it comes to fuel economy, with our 50 mile drive on a mix of roads, seeing us average 42.4mpg. CO2 emission’s are 159g/km.
As I mentioned earlier, we were to drive the Vivaro’s laden & unladen & in our first drive, the 1.5 was unladen. On our return, we took the opportunity to try the more powerful 2.0 litre manual in Sportive spec, which came laden & on the return route, this version clearly felt faster, even with a 500kg load in the rear. Like the 1.5, the light clutch & gears combination makes for casual van driving, giving the Vivaro a real car-like feel on the road. The 2.0 isn’t quite as good as the 1.5 when it comes to combined fuel economy though , as we averaged laden it has to be said, only 34.76 mpg on the return route, with CO2’s higher as well at 183g/km. Although the Elite comes better equipped, the more powerful Sportive we drove is exactly the same price as the 1.5 Elite, which is £26,370 excluding VAT. Food for thought for customers.
Time ran out & we weren’t able to try the 8-speed auto Vivaro, although we suspect that the manual versions will make up the bulk of sales, with both Sportive & Elite the likely best sellers spec-wise. Overall, we kind of new what to expect with the new Vivaro having awarded the Dispatch, Expert & Proace our Medium Van of the Year Award for 2017. Nonetheless, having fielded a number of phone calls & e mails from readers who run hundreds of Vivaro’s, in the past year, I’m pleased to say that the new one really is a no brainer. It offers up to a 19% greater payload, 25% better towing capacity, a 28% improvement on fuel economy & offer’s 19% better C02 emissions than the previous model. And, if that’s not enough, the entry level model is cheaper to buy !
Kudos to Vauxhall. We now have a UK built van that matches the best in sector & one that will give the Transit Custom a run for it’s money 4/5.