As a middleweight, the Vivaro has many rivals in one of the most competitive sectors of the market, but as the UK-built sister van to the Renault Traffic, which has had an exceptional impact on the market, it has a strong pedigree.
The Vauxhall Vivaro prides itself on practicality, and this L2H1 Limited Edition double cab, coming with a second row of seats behind the driver, offers a 4.0m3 load space behind a solid bulkhead and a max load length of 2,423mm if the load-through hatch is utilised for long, thin items. Otherwise the load length stretches to 1,819mm.
By way of comparison, however, the Ford Transit Custom L2H1 double-cab-in-van (DCiV) offers a 4.3m3 load capacity together with a load length of 1,944mm, which can be extended by 530mm to 2,474mm by opening its own bulkhead hatch.
Where the Vivaro has the upper hand, though, is with its meaty payload of 970kg, which beats the 809kg of the equivalent L2H1 DCiV Transit Custom and the 925kg of the Volkswagen Transporter Kombi.
The load bay of the van we tested was fully lined for an added extra £310 (all prices exclude VAT), which could be money well spent as it protects the paintwork from scratches and scrapes.
The 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine that now powers the whole Vauxhall Vivaro range uses a common-rail injection architecture and either one or two turbochargers.
Our 145hp CDTi twin-turbo sits at the top of the range in terms of power. It had a six-speed manual gearbox and official fuel consumption of 44.8mpg. CO2 emissions are put at 164g/km. The 130hp 2.0 Transit Custom DCiV offers almost identical official stats of 44.8mpg and 163g/km.
So what is the Vivaro Limited Edition like to drive? Luckily, on a stressful inner-city assignment it’s not hard work, is easy to manoeuvre and handles well, but it doesn’t have much pulling power on open roads from about 45mph, as became apparent on a house move, when it was heavily loaded with items including large pieces of furniture.
This sluggish performance belied the van’s racy exterior, which is replete with ‘flame’-red metallic paint and 17-inch black alloy wheels. There is no overhead shelf for the driver’s odds and ends in the cabin but plenty of space for paperwork in the pull-down middle seat and a large bottle of water in the door cubby. Seat trimmings and a leather-covered steering wheel and gear knob are standard Limited Edition fare.
The blind spot mirror in the passenger sun visor was useful for the preservation of cyclists, and the parking camera and sensors were invaluable in tight spots. The rear-view camera was an added £295 on our Vivaro and is worth it in our eyes.
The Navi 80 IntelliLink infotainment connectivity system, which was an added extra on this vehicle, was not particularly user-friendly, despite costing £1,272. It took a while to figure out how to pair iPhones for hands-free and even longer to register the presence of devices.
Limited Edition L2H1 2900 Double cab 1.6CDTi 145hp BiTurbo S/S
|Price (ex VAT) £28,648|
|Price range (ex VAT) £20,673-£28,648|
|Service intervals 25,000mls|
|Load length 1,819mm|
|Load width (min/max) 1,268/1,662mm|
|Load bay height 1,387mm|
|Load volume 4.0m3|
|Gross payload 970kg|
|Engine size/power 1,598cc/145hp|
|Combined fuel economy 44.8mpg|
A stylish and practical addition to the Vivaro line-up, although, surprisingly, a tad underpowered when fully laden.