Vauxhall added the front-wheel drive Vivaro small panel van to its light commercial vehicle armoury in 2001. The result of a joint-venture with Renault (Trafic) — also sold as the Nissan Primastar — it's built at Vauxhall’s IBC plant in Luton.
Vivaro has a choice of two 2.0-litre and a 2.5-litre Euro 4 common rail turbodiesel. The two smaller capacity units replaced the previous 1.9-litre powerplants in 2006. They produce 90hp and 115hp, and develop peak torque of 240Nm and 290Nm. The 2.5-litre is an uprated version of the previous engine, reworked to meet the Euro 4 emission regulations and capable of producing 150hp at 3,500rpm and developing 317Nm of peak torque at 1,600rpm.
These new diesels are smooth in their power delivery, have a wide spread of torque and are relatively vibrationfree. They are all mated to a six-speed manual gearbox with a dash-mounted gearstick. Handling and ride are well up to par compared to the competition, as are the brakes. Discs are employed in all four corners and ABS is a standard feature. Vivaro is remarkably manoeuvrable, but the steering fails to tighten up sufficiently at speed.
Turning to the cab, storage facilities include a bin in each of the doors, a glovebox and a cup/can holder at either end of the dashboard.The standard package embraces a height-adjustable driver’s seat, tinted windows and the angle and reach of the steering wheel can be altered.
The 5.0m3 load area is well thought out and pretty ‘square’ with little tumblehome. Long-wheelbase versions have a 5.9m3 capacity. The standard warranty is threeyears/100,000 miles and servicing is required every 18,000 miles.
A great van from Vauxhall which has very radical styling that doesn’t seem to have dated.