If the new Trafic is important to Renault, then the latest Vivaro is a critical van for Vauxhall and parent company GM. It is also a vitally important LCV for the Vauxhall plant in Luton, safeguarding 1,200 jobs and securing a £185m investment in the UK’s only remaining major LCV plant.
Vauxhall’s Luton facility, one of only three in the world to achieve GM’s BIQ Level 4 quality standard, has built almost 1 million vans since Vivaro was launched in 2001. As new Vivaro comes on stream, the plant aims to manufacture up to 215 vans per day, or 44,000 a year on a single shift. However, GM has plans to double European van sales by 2022.
The new van is also important for suppliers to the plant. On the previous model around 25% of the components were sourced in the UK. With new Vivaro Vauxhall has upped that count to more than 40%, putting more than £140m a year into the UK supply base economy.
Of course Vivaro shares much with Trafic, so there is the same choice of two body lengths and two roof heights. There are two single turbo 1.6-litre diesel engines delivering 90hp and 115hp, plus two BiTurbo models with 120hp and 140hp.
While all models come with an Eco mode switch that drops power and torque slightly and reduces the air-con performance to save up to 10% in fuel, Vauxhall has decided to only offer its full ecoFlex package, that also includes Start/Stop, on the 90, 120 and 140hp engines.
The 120hp model is the most impressive of the four, delivering up to 49.9mpg and just 155g/km of CO2. However, even the base 90hp model offers a 23% fuel economy improvement over the previous 90hp Vivaro, with 20% lower CO2 emissions. Better still, it will be priced at £255 less than the previous van, despite the fact that all Vivaro models have a higher specification including standard ESP.
Where Vivaro differs from its French cousin is in specification and trim levels. The UK van will come in standard, though certainly not basic, spec with a full height steel bulkhead, a sunvisor with wide angle mirror, a driver’s seat with height and lumbar adjust and an armrest, DAB radio, Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, remote central locking, electric windows and mirrors and ESP.
Up to 40% of UK customers will opt for the higher Sportive trim though, which brings with it smarter seat trim, a FlexCargo bulkhead with load-through flap beneath the passenger seat, a seatback storage and clipboard facility, higher-specification stereo, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, body-coloured bumpers and side mouldings, LED daytime running lights, front fogs and rear parking sensors.
A host of options will be available too, including built-in Intellilink sat navs, climate control, reversing cameras and heated seats.
Prices start at £17,995, some £450 less than the previous model, with Sportive models starting at £19,765. Vivaro is available to order now and panel vans, double cabs, nine-seat Combis and platform cabs should start arriving in dealers in September.
If Vauxhall’s sales targets are met, the company hopes to start a second shift at the Luton plant next year, providing work for another 300 staff. With Vauxhall’s LCV sales already up 13.6% so far this year, the company’s ambitions look safe in new Vivaro’s hands.
What we think
With a generous specification, improved fuel consumption, lower emissions and a larger load area, new Vivaro looks set to rapidly build upon the success of the previous model.
MODEL Vauxhall Vivaro L1H1 27001.6CDTI 115hp Sportive
BASIC PRICE £20,658
FUEL INJECTION Common-rail
POWER 115hp @ 3,500
TORQUE 300Nm @ £1,750
KERB WEIGHT 1,661
MAX TRAILER WEIGHT 2,000
LOAD SPACE LENGTH 2,537
LOAD SPACE WIDTH 1,662
LOAD SPACE HEIGHT 1,387
LOAD HEIGHT (unladen) 552
LOAD VOLUME 5.2m3
FUEL TANK CAPACITY 80 litres
COMBINED MPG & CO2 43.5mpg/170g/km
OIL CHANGE 2 yr/25,000 miles
WARRANTY 3 yr/100,000 miles