Company Car

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The secret diary of a motoring journalist aged 39¾'ish


4th November 2019

There are plenty of MPVs that are, essentially, vans with windows and some seats screwed into the back. The Vauxhall Vivaro Life is a bit more than that and is a ‘people mover’ in the true sense because it’s aimed largely at the private hire market. This means almost all of its customers will be fleet users, which means the £42,420 list price of this Elite Long 2.0 150 Turbo D model is easily offset by its earning potential.
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Let’s cut to the chase this morning. As a seven-seat car, the Vivaro Life is brilliant. The middle pair of captain’s chairs are massive and offer excellent comfort and views out. They can also be slid back and forth to vary leg room for the rear three passengers. Even with the middle seat moved forward, there’s decent knee space and those in the third row get plenty of room to stretch out. This is an advantage of going for the Long version.
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Today shows up another benefit of picking the Long model of Vivaro Life as it comes with a generous boot, even with all seven seats in use. I’m not sure you could pack all the luggage for seven to head off on holiday or do the airport run, but there’s more than enough capacity there to deal with most needs. This morning, it was perfect for picking up a new seat for my hillclimb car, though this had to be returned as there was a crack in the seat shell.
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More discoveries in space today with the Vivaro Life. In this instance, it’s the huge glovebox in front of the passenger seat. This shows off the Vivaro’s van origins, but that’s no bad thing when you see how much you could cram into this storage box. There’s ample room in there for mobile phones, bags and all the usual chargers and clutter that are the bane of my life when driving with the family on board.
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It’s refreshing to be presented with a set of analogue dials in a new vehicle nowadays. So many now feature a digital dash, which is great for style points and being able to flick through different modes, but the simplicity and ease of understanding vital information with the Vivaro’s instruments is a pleasure. Everything you need to know is there at a glance and classic white on black script is unbeatable in my view.
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The usual weekend taxi duties with the kids, so the Vivaro Life is in its element accommodating them and their chums, who all love the variety of seating options. From the driver’s seat, the softly suspended Vauxhall is good at swooshing over lumpy roads with unruffled calm, but corners require a bit more circumspection. The steering doesn’t provide the same feel you get in hatch-based MPVs and the front end of the Vivaro is wont to push wide at even moderate speeds, so leisurely progress is the order of the day.
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A trip into Edinburgh today with the family all loaded up. On the motorway, the Vivaro is happy to cruise at the legal limit and is surprisingly quiet. I’m able to chat with the kids in the back no problem and they can hear the stereo without it being cranked up to stadium volume. In town, the tight turning circle of the Vauxhall is handy, though I’d like the gearshift to be much better defined as finding a gear requires conscious thought that detracts from concentrating on the road ahead.
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