Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Vauxhall Vivaro Life may look rather van-like but shares its platform with the Vauxhall Grandland X and other PSA Group cars so it’s far more enjoyable to drive than commercial vehicles tend to be.
The first thing that will catch your attention as soon as you set off, though, has nothing to do with its driving manners, yet is a big reason why you might choose an MPV over an SUV – the even higher view from the driving seat. You can see over most cars' roofs, giving you (and lorry drivers) the best view of the road ahead.
Speaking of which, on craggy roads it tends to bounce and twitch a bit too much over to be considered truly comfy. However, none of the van-based alternatives (such as the closely related Citroën SpaceTourer and Peugeot Traveller) have flawless ride quality. If you want something with a calmer ride, you'll need the Galaxy.
As there’s little reward for driving the Vivaro Life quickly, you might think it’s better to stick with the entry-level 118bhp 1.5-litre diesel. However, its pedestrian 0-62mph time of 14.3sec means you’ll need to work it and its six-speed manual gearbox quite hard to get it up to speed.
If you’re regularly loaded up with passengers, the more powerful 178bhp 2.0-litre engine will be a much better option. It gets to 62mph four seconds faster and comes with a smooth eight-speed automatic as standard, making it easier to drive in traffic.
The electric-powered version is actually a little bit quicker than the 1.5 diesel (as well as offering zero-emissions motoring) – for details see our full Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life review.