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Road test: Vauxhall Vivaro

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If you are looking for the ultimate Vauxhall Vivaro, look no further, says Dan Gilkes.

While the majority of fleet managers will limit their van searches to the hard-working end of a model range, there are those who will be seeking a little bit more power and a higher level of comfort and equipment. Indeed, Vauxhall has had to introduce a fourth trim level – Dynamic – for those fleet buyers that want the equipment of a Vivaro Sportive, but the look of the Edition model.

Then there are those for whom even the Sportive, complete with its alloy wheels and body-coloured bumpers, is still not enough. For those seeking the absolute top of the range, Vauxhall offers the Vivaro Elite.

As befits its position, Elite can be had with the 120hp and 150hp versions of the PSA 2.0-litre engine, with Stop/Start as standard. It is also the only model offered with a 180hp output. This engine comes as standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission, rather than the six-speed manual on the rest of the range. That said, the auto box will

be available on the Sportive Doublecab this year, though only with the 120hp engine.

The combination of 180hp and the auto transmission will set you back around £2,400, compared to the same model with a 150hp engine and a manual box. It will also cost you slightly more at the pumps, with a combined WLTP fuel figure of 40.9mpg versus 41.5mpg for the 150hp manual, while CO2 output rises from 206g/km to 209g/km.

Having eight forward ratios limits the impact on fuel consumption though and it is doubtful that either figure will be enough to put potential buyers off.

Even in entry-level Edition trim, the Vivaro is well equipped and by Sportive there is very little left on the options list. With Elite trim however, you get Multimedia Navi Pro sat-nav, lane departure warning, speed sign recognition and speed adaptation, side blind spot alert, electrically folding mirrors, front and rear parking sensors and the alloy wheel diameter rises from 16 to 17-inches. The van also comes with a Visibility Pack, a Driver Assistance Pack and the Appearance Pack as standard.

Unsurprisingly, the 180hp auto Vivaro is a pleasure to drive, providing scalded cat performance when required and effortless high-speed cruising. The automatic transmission is superbly smooth, shifting imperceptibly between ratios. It also makes urban driving easier, leaving the driver free to concentrate on navigation, traffic and other road users.

Indeed, automatic transmissions make a lot of sense for light commercial vehicle users and they are becoming an increasingly popular option in larger vans like Daily and Sprinter. Unfortunately though, for now at least, few drivers will get the opportunity to enjoy Vauxhall’s top Vivaro.

The Verdict

Elite trim may be one for the owner driver, but the automatic transmission deserves a wider audience.

Fleet rating: 4.5/5

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Written by Dan Gilkes

Dan has been a commercial vehicle and construction equipment journalist for almost 30 years. An automotive engineer and former fleet manager, he has driven almost every van, pickup and truck that has been launched in Europe over that time. As editor of VFW, his aim is to keep readers up to date with the latest developments in the light commercial world.

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