October 18, 2019

High hopes for Luton’s new Vivaro

Vauxhall has launched a new Vivaro, offering 19% more payload than the previous model, a 28% improvement in economy, a 19% drop in CO2 emissions and a 25% rise in towing ability. Of course, the van is not in fact all-new, it is based on the latest Citroën Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, and it can also be found with a Toyota badge as the Proace.

What is totally new however, is the fact that PSA has invested more than £100m in Vauxhall’s Luton plant to build the van here in Britain. Indeed, with plans to build over 100,000 vans a year in the plant, the UK operation will also be building vans for Peugeot, Citroën and Opel.

The new Vivaro comes in two lengths and one roof height, as a panel van, a crew cab, a platform cab and as a Vivaro Life people carrier. There will be three trim levels – an entry-level Edition, which is expected to take up to 30% of UK sales, the popular Sportive that should account for 60% of buyers and a high-end Elite specification that will appeal to 10% of owners. All come with twin sliding side doors, that can be electrically powered if required, plus driver and passenger airbags and cruise control with a speed limiter as standard.

Auto options

There are two diesel engines available. A 1.5-litre diesel from the smaller Combo can be had with 100bhp or 120bhp, while a larger 2.0-litre engine offers 120bhp, 150bhp and 180bhp. Though both engines can be ordered with 120bhp, the 2.0-litre delivers 340Nm of torque, compared to the 1.5-litre’s 300Nm. That is why the 2.0-litre is offered in the full 1,400kg payload vans, while the smaller engine will be limited to models capable of handling around 1,000kg.

Six-speed manual gearboxes are standard across the range, though the 180bhp engine can also be ordered with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 120hp 2.0-litre engine is expected to get the auto option later in the year. All engines come with Start/Stop and on average, the new Vivaro offers a 20-28% improvement in fuel consumption compared to the old model. Fuel economy is said to be as high as 47mpg combined (WLTP) on the smaller engine, while CO2 is cut to 159-211g/km. Vauxhall will launch a full battery electric (BEV) version of the Vivaro van in 2020.

Standard equipment is generous, despite an overall drop in list prices. The Elite model will have Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Recognition and Intelligent Speed Adaptation as standard, along with High Beam Assist and Side Blind Spot Alert. Options will include a head-up display, electric side doors with foot-waving activation, forward-collision alert and Automatic Emergency Braking.

Load volumes extend to 6.6m3, with a Flex Cargo load-through bulkhead, while the heaviest models can handle up to 1,458kg of payload. The vans also boast a 2.5-tonne towing capacity on some models, which is 500kg up on the old Vivaro. Customers who require a degree of off-road capability can also order the van with the IntelliGrip electronically controlled differential that is also available on Combo. This offers additional traction with snow, sand and mud settings.

In the cab, Vauxhall will offer a range of infotainment systems, though its ConnectBox system will be standard. This provides an e-call emergency call facility and a link in to telematic and fleet management systems through the vehicle’s CAN Bus wiring. Higher trim models will come with Multimedia Navi infotainment with a 7” touchscreen and Apple and Android compatibility.

To make the most of the new van, Vauxhall has appointed 62 new Van Business centres since the beginning of the year. They will offer an enhanced commercial vehicle service with the recent backing of the PSA Groupe’s Free2Move Lease finance and contract hire business.

Vauxhall has had an incredible start to the year, with Combo sales up 310% in the first five months compared to 2018. Even the outgoing Vivaro was up 4.59%, while Movano, which will soon be upgraded, also rose by 28%. The company is hoping that new Vivaro will continue this trend.