OUR trusty Vauxhall Vivaro crew-cab is covered in dirt at present. It’s so mucky that some sexist wag has scrawled ‘I wish my wife was this dirty’ on one of the back doors.
But I don’t apologise for this temporary state of affairs for the muck in question was accumulated on a 1,300-mile trip to southern Ireland in which the van behaved like a star.
After the trip was over I was left with an enormous amount of respect for the Vivaro. It is comfortable, stylish, nimble, economical – I could go on for hours dreaming up positive new adjectives.
The trip was arranged after a friend of mine asked if I could transport some furnture and other household gear to a farm he had just bought near Roscommon.
Three of us crammed box after box into the rear of the van and set off from Peterborough for the port at Holyhead. The only problem was that with a second row of seats up front, the load length is restricted to 6ft and as such we had to dismantle a wooden framed settee before it would go in.
With all the weight – we were fairly close to the Vivaro’s limit of 1,091kg – you’d imagine the van to struggle a bit with its relatively diminutive 1.9-litre diesel engine.
But common rail technology means that the cubic capacity/power output ratio has shifted and we hardly noticed any difference. The van still plugged up the hills with dogged determination and it handled as well as ever. It even lost some of its skittishness over the bumps, so proved an even better ride than when empty.
One of my passengers drives an aged minibus for a local charity in his spare time and he simply couldn’t believe how smooth and stylish the Vivaro was. He was so impressed that he vowed he would suggest a Vivaro to the charity when the time comes to buy a new vehicle.
Even the sound quality from the CD was superb.
As we left Dublin Port and headed out on the N4, we celebrated being in the Emerald Isle with a blast of Christy Moore loud enough to wake the dead. And after 1,300 miles of hard driving, I was amazed to discover that the Vivaro was still returning 28.1 mpg. What more can I say but – wow!
Model: Vauxhall Vivaro crew cab 1.9 CDTi
Price (OTR ex-VAT): £16,315
CO2 emissions (g/km): n/a
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 22% tax-payer: £110 per year
Insurance group: 5E
Combined mpg: n/a
Test mpg: 28.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £5,750/34%
Expenditure to date: Nil
- Figures based on three years/60,000 miles