A LARGER LIFE (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Vauxhall enters the super-large MPV market with this model, the Vivaro Life. Jonathan Crouch looks at what's on offer.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 65
This Vauxhall Vivaro Life is, as its name suggests, based on the marque's medium-sized Vivaro van but it's certainly pretty sophisticated as well as being light, airy, and seriously spacious, with room for up to 9 people, depending on variant. If anything, its commercial vehicle roots serve as a strength and the huge interior, tough build and uncomplicated design might prove ideal for family buyers.
Backgroundword count: 131
If you need a family MPV, then you'll need room for a family's luggage. The problem is, a merely 'large' People Carrier like, say, a Ford Galaxy or a Volkswagen Sharan, can't provide room for seven people's-worth of luggage, unless you add on a roof box. All of which might drive you towards a van-based super-large MPV model. These tend to be quite expensive - or at least they are in the case of models like the Volkswagen Caravelle and the Mercedes V-Class. A few years back though, the PSA Group introduced Citroen SpaceTourer and Peugeot Traveller models that provided a more affordable route into super-large MPV motoring. Now that Vauxhall is a part of the PSA conglomerate, it too can offer such a model. This is it; the Vivaro Life.
Driving Experienceword count: 229
The Vivaro Life is more agile than you might expect a super-large MPV to be, primarily thanks to the lighter, stiffer 'EMP2' platform that Vauxhall's switch to PSA Group ownership has dictated it must have. There's a relatively nimble feeling through the turns for a big People Carrier, helped by quite a low centre of gravity and steering that, though not especially feelsome, responds quite quickly to inputs. There's a choice of two main diesel engines, a 1.5-litre unit offered with either 100 or 120PS. And the 2.0-litre powerplant we'd recommend, available with either 150 or 180PS. The most powerful model has to be had with 8-speed automatic transmission. Otherwise, you'll be using a 6-speed manual. Refinement has been a priority with this 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. Testers who'd found the sheer size of some other big MPVs in this segment a little daunting when dealing with narrow country lanes and squeezing through gaps in the traffic were, we found, much more easily able to acclimatise to a Vivaro Life. The bonnet's set quite high, but the nose has a squared-off shape that we've found during our testing programme makes this Vauxhall easy to place in tight urban situations.
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Category: MPV People Carriers
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