Average Customer Ratings
Vauxhall Vivaro LWB 2.0CDTi [115PS] Euro 5 Sportive Van Review
Vauxhall may not have realised it at the time, but when they designed the Vivaro van they were doing something rather clever. Because they created a unique product for a growing number of small – and large - businesses that wanted to project a stylish, upmarket image yet have a need for commercial vehicles. And when it comes to style and panache, no other panel van can come close to the Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive. So, while the Sportive will only ever be a niche vehicle mainly chosen by owner/drivers, nevertheless some will be bought with company cash. And what’s more, it’s made in the UK.
At a glance
It’s hard to believe that this futuristic van shape is now 12 years old. It stood out from the crowd back then and it still looks stylish today. That’s mainly down to the distinctive streamlined profile that runs at a rakish angle from the radiator grille, across the bonnet and up the windscreen into a ‘bubble-topped’ cab. The van was given a make-over in 2006 that included new profiled front and rear bumpers and a revised ‘Griffin’ logo in a new bolder V shaped, chrome finished grille. New headlight units were added, with integral indicators as opposed to the separate units previously fitted in the bumpers, while the rear light clusters have benefited from fashionable clear lenses as opposed to the previous ‘smoked’ finish. Smart alloy wheels add the finishing touch. The result is an unusual but smart looking van which should keep its looks thanks to the plastic mouldings. In addition to the plastic bumpers front and rear, there are plastic guards along its flanks and shrouding the high-up rear light clusters. Engines and spec.
The Vivaro slots in just below the Movano in the Vauxhall van line-up and is the manufacturer’s answer to the shorter and lower versions of the Ford Transit. Similarly, the most popular version is a panel van, available in short or long wheelbase forms. But other body styles are on offer including a 12-seat minibus, double cab and a low deck drop-side.
Powering our Vivaro test vehicle was the 2.0-litre common-rail diesel engine, with the option of 90bhp or 115bhp outputs. Plus, at launch the Vivaro was one of the first vans to be fitted with a six-speed gearbox as standard. This helps to deliver low fuel consumption, although it’s possible to boost economy further by choosing a Vivaro ecoFLEX. These models use green tweaks such as low-rolling-resistance tyres, longer gear ratios and optimised aerodynamics – plus an optional speed limiter – to deliver up to 42.7mpg economy.
At the wheel
Little has changed inside the Vivaro cab since the vehicle was launched and perhaps that’s down to the fact that it was so good in the first place. The instrument lay out and their visibility in bright sun light is good and everything seems logically laid-out and where you’d expect to find it in a van. If there is a niggle, then leg room and shoulder room are a bit tight for the larger figure although the range of adjustment in the driver’s seat is among the best in class. The test vehicle also had the optional driver’s seat and single passenger seat, as opposed to the standard two-seater passenger bench, which had the effect of creating more room for two burly blokes. The glove box is also a bit on the shallow side, although it has a deep pocket above it, while there is another handy A4-sized slot above the main central radio panel that’s ideal for storing the all-important driver’s clipboard. The top of the dashboard is steeply raked, like the windscreen, so nothing can be placed on it without it sliding down against the glass and covering the air vents. For eating out (in lay-bys!) there are a couple of ‘stepped’ can holders at each end of the dash which are ideal for cans and Styrofoam cups, though they don’t hold 500 ml bottles securely. There is also a curry hook on the left side of the dash, which may not sound too important at first. But the next time you buy a takeaway – curry or otherwise – and try transporting it home without this particular item, it can become very important indeed!
The Vivaro remains competitive in terms of dimensions, as well as payload, with even the SWB version capable of carrying a heavier load than short-wheelbase versions of its competitors.
On the road
Vauxhall’s Vivaro has been using the 2.0-litre diesel to power the van since the 2006 face-lift and it provides good performance. Owners who regularly do motorway work or drive the van fully laden will find the 115bhp version we tested a better choice than the 90bhp engine, though. Refinement is decent whichever you go for, and the six-speed gearbox helps to keep noise to a minimum when cruising.
Handling is crisp and clean, allowing for some pretty nifty work on the corners. It’s no exaggeration to say that you could sometimes forget you’re in a van and driving a big car. In fact, this must be one of the best riding vans on the road, whether running empty or loaded. No doubt that is down to the independent front suspension with McPherson struts and the semi-independent rear end with trailing arms and load-adaptable shock absorbers. The power steering is not too strong either, offering a decent bit of feedback when at speed or manoeuvring. Enhancing the whole package is the comfortable seat and pretty good driving position. Overall, the Vivaro handles well, with good ride quality either laden or unladen, and it's a comfortable van to drive for long distances.
A week with this van and I really did not want to give it back. It’s fast, it’s feisty and it’s fun. It will turn heads and should retain a high percentage of its original price at selling time as long as it is well maintained and kept in good condition. On the plus side, the Vivaro is designed with the driver in mind in that it is quiet, practical, has lots of storage space in the cab and the cargo load area in the rear is also well laid out and spacious. There are very few ‘cons’ worth mentioning, other than that the cabin can be a little tight for the fuller figure, the overwhelming grey-ness of the dashboard and centre console could have done with a cosmetic make-over and how to tune the radio still remains a mystery to me!
Our man with a van
Motoring journalist Adrian Foster has been commissioned to write impartial van and pick up reviews for our website, specifically to help with your decision making process. We have provided him with a van and the spec and nothing more, so you can rely on his views being real and honest.
Adrian began his career in the motor retail industry with Perry’s Group before turning his hand to motoring journalism. He launched the Drivelines motoring press agency as a means of providing high quality journalism on new cars, commercial vehicles, motorsport and the motor industry at large.
Below are the customer reviews for the Vauxhall Vivaro. Want to have your say? Review the Vauxhall Vivaro now.
Tony Layzell said on March 04 2014
Just got the van today but its not the first Vivaro we have had so I will know what to expect, a great all round van.
Christopher Coverdale said on February 11 2014
I have only driven 50 miles in it so far on the day of delivery, Still getting use to it really, but as mentioned above it really needs to have reversing seniors/ camera so you can see where your reversing regards the blind spot distance. Can this be added to the van by the leasing Company?
Martin Holsten said on January 29 2014
As I said I was after something different but I am very pleased with what I have. Very comfortable, very spacious. Great looking and great to drive.
David Davies said on November 06 2013
So far really good
Simon Jackson said on November 06 2013
Looks a fantastic van.
Grant Maclean said on October 30 2013
Dan Richens said on October 25 2013
Scott Wheaton said on October 22 2013
Very good van
Kevin Stones said on October 04 2013
Pleased with the van for the reasons above
Colin Prizeman said on September 24 2013
great van am really pleased with it
Dan Lloyd said on May 30 2013
Couldn't be happier
Mark Knockton said on February 06 2013
Graham Rickett said on October 17 2012
Chris Tyrrell said on September 05 2012
Steve Creasey said on May 30 2012
David Giles said on May 23 2012
although I have only had this for over 24 hours, so far so good.
Robert Willis said on April 26 2012
Jason Bradley said on April 26 2012
very nice drive smooth comfortable and easy on the eye
Mark Turner said on April 18 2012
Great van and impressed with the mileage. Would definitely recommend Vauxhall's for their comfort and economy efficient running costs.
Ashley Moran said on April 12 2012
its a really nice van and great to drive.
Mick Dyche said on March 16 2012
I thought the Vauxhall is a nice looking van and well equiped, (To early to say about running costs at the moment)
Lisa Lemon said on March 09 2012
Very happy with the van looks great drives superb looking forward to doing many miles in it
Chris Mayo John Robertson said on March 09 2012
very economical what we need in this presant climate
Steve Wright said on March 09 2012
Only had it 1 day.. but so far very very inpressed .
Dean musgrave said on February 24 2012
Practical van and nice to drive, wish it had rear parking sensors but you cant have everything in life.
Paul Cooper said on February 24 2012
The model purchased offers our engineers that little bit extra rather than driving the base model,and particularly with the no deposit deal its goood value for us as well.
Peter Mcewan said on February 03 2012
Gary Thomas said on November 18 2011
This is our second one and we still prefers these to all the others
Rob Hume said on November 09 2011
A quality and practical van .
Jason Hinson said on September 02 2011
kevin Tindall said on August 24 2011
The Vauxhall Viviaro sportive LWB is a comfortable van to be behind the wheel ,drives fantastic and holds the road well on cornering. A good looking van from the outside with all the sporty trim and the metallic paint and loads of electric gadgets that comes standard with the van which other vans they are all extras and are very costly when you start putting them on. The best one is the blue tooth stereo saves the effort and money getting one installed ,as running a company its a must have when you are on the move. Great van to have , really good on fuel. plenty room in load bay for all tools and materials. can get up to about 2.6m length in the back so doors wont struggle to close with a sheet of plasterboard or ply. Great value for the money . recommend this van to anyone looking for a good quality van
Mark Trojacek said on August 24 2011
Only just received the vehicle but all looks good so far
Tina Baker said on August 24 2011
It's a van !!
Paul Roberts said on August 24 2011
Exactly as ordered
Tim Baldock said on June 30 2011
very good - the added extra of the sportive trim makes a massive difference to the overall appearance and driver comfort.
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