First Drive: Vauxhall Vivaro Ecoflex

Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vauxhall broke new ground in the eco-van sector last year by including an Ecoflex- badged derivative of every model in its line-up.

  Until May 2012 the Vivaro got its Ecoflex badge purely through being fitted with a speed limiter that restricted its top speed to 62mph. This delivered a CO2 output of 185g/km, a saving of 5% compared with the standard model.
Vauxhall has now introduced a new, more efficient Vivaro Ecoflex in short wheelbase, standard roof mode that does not rely on a speed limiter to cut consumption, although one is available as an option if even more frugal performance is desired.
We tested the Vivaro Ecoflex 2700 2.0-litre, 115hp without a speed limiter.
It delivers an official fuel consumption figure of 40.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 180g/km, compared with the 37.6mpg, 198g/km standard version.
Savings are achieved through a range of green technologies such as exhaust gas circulation cooling, improved thermal management, low rolling-resistance tyres, an aerodynamic under-tray and optimised gear ratios.
We were impressed that the eco gear ratios, when mated to the 115hp power output in the van we tested, did not hinder performance.
The six-speed manual transmission, meanwhile, contributed to a smooth, relaxing drive in the city and there was no lack of power when cruising in top gear on the open road.
The driving position in the two-seat cab is upright and supportive and the steering wheel is adjustable for reach but not height. Lumbar adjustment and armrest, included for an extra £100, improved comfort.
Our test vehicle had an upgraded audio system for £340, including Bluetooth and USB, but changing radio stations was anything but intuitive and the sound that eventually resulted could be described as rather tinny.

 

Verdict

While the Vivaro is no spring chicken, Vauxhall continues to find ways to make it an attractive and economical proposition for operators.



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