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By Jonathan Crouch
The third generation Vauxhall Vivaro is a more sophisticated proposition. Jonathan Crouch reports
Ten Second Reviewword count: 74
The only van Britain now builds is this one, Vauxhall's Luton-made third generation Vivaro. It's a medium-sized Transit Custom and Volkswagen Transporter LCV rival that aims to build on the huge success of its predecessor with smarter looks, extra efficiency and plenty of technology. Like its PSA Group design stablemates, it's also easier to live with and nicer to drive. It is, in short, a contender that potential buyers in this segment can't ignore.
Backgroundword count: 205
Buy British. It's a plea that has an appealing ring to it but usually requires a certain level of sacrifice or compromise. Vauxhall though, reckons that neither of these things will be needed from owners of this third generation Vivaro van. Now that Ford Transits are no longer built in Blighty, it's the only LCV product the UK screws together and claims class leadership in most of the key areas that'll matter to business folk. But then so many commercial vehicle products do. This one will certainly need to make good on its glossy brochure promises if it's to face down direct medium-sized van rivals as talented as Ford's Transit Custom, Volkswagen's Transporter, Mercedes' Vito and the shared design we know as either a Renault Traffic, a Nissan NV300 or a Fiat Talento. An even tougher challenge perhaps for Vauxhall will be in differentiating this product from its near-identical design stablemates, Peugeot's Expert and Citroen's Dispatch and Toyota's Proace. Your selection between this vehicle and its PSA Group-designed counterparts may come down to deals and personal preference but if Vauxhall's claims for this MK3 Vivaro model are correct, then you could find yourself choosing this design over other market sector rivals for more concrete reasons.
Driving Experienceword count: 237
This time round, there's a primary choice of 1.5 or 2.0-litre diesels. The 1.5 comes in 100PS or 120PS outputs but these units are poorer than the old model's 1.6-litre diesel powerplants in terms of their ability to take heavy payloads. Which means that if you habitually carry heavier loads or engage in longer trips, you'll want to ignore it and plump for the 2.0-litre Turbo D option, which comes in 120PS, 150PS or 180PS guises. The 2.0-litre models might end up being more economical too, because their higher capacity and greater torque means that you'll not need to thrash them about so often. All combustion models use a 6-speed manual gearbox, expect the top 180PS derivative which gets an 8-speed auto as standard. There's also the option of a full-electric Vivaro-e variant which as a 136hp electric motor and a WLTP driving range of 205 miles. Refinement has taken a big step forward with diesel versions of this MK3 design, as has ride quality thanks to load-sensitive shock absorbers and a so-called 'passive' suspension system that adjusts springing and damping as required, depending on the road surface. Plus this model feels quite manoeuvrable. Across the range, top-spec variants get camera-driven kit like speed limit recognition, lane departure warning, Side Blind Spot Alert and Driver Attention Alert systems. There's also a clever 'Intelligent Speed adaptation' system that enables you to maintain a constant speed at a cruise.
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