By on December 3, 2014

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Take a look at the Vauxhall Viva – or Opel Karl in the rest of Europe. The South Korean-built minicar is very likely to be our next Chevrolet Spark.

With a 1.0L 3-cylinder engine making 75 horsepower, five seats and integration for iOs and Android mobile devices, the Viva is designed to capture former Spark customers (Chevrolet has been axed from Europe) as well those flocking towards the Volkswagen Up! and other A-segment cars. Vauxhall is touting the fact that the Viva will have proper windows that roll up and down, not just pop out, a sign of just how stingy some entrants are in their quest to offer ultra-cheap motoring.

 

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50 Comments on “Vauxhall Viva Is Our Next Chevrolet Spark...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well, it looks better proportioned than the Spark in the pictures.

    However that interior is a sea of black, and a lot of it looking like cheap plastic bits.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Better than the garish, misshapen junk that goes into cars in higher segments. And no podracer instrument cluster this time around.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Actually good point about the instrument cluster.

        I did have a 2015 Sonic LT as a rental earlier this year and I quickly learned to like the instrument cluster. Actually, we were darn impressed with the Sonic across the board.

        However at $23K sticker for a fully loaded RS, the argument to buy one gets weak.

        There is no mistaking however that within the segment, GM is selling plenty of Sparks and Sonics when compared to their respective A and B segment peers.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I agree on the styling, it looks much better proportioned. All the investment in Opel seems to be paying off. WRT the interior bits, it may look bad in photos but maybe not in reality. What’s this car’s price? Under $15K? How many sub $15K cars really have a nice interior?

      Once we can see it in the flesh, we’ll know more.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I bet you it was designed by Chevrolet/Daewoo South Korea, and has precious little to do with Opel.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Well, it is built in South Korea. It’s not like the Korean GM cars are the same crap they were even 5 years ago. The last Aveo was really the last bad Daewoo to come out of Korea.

          I think the South Koreans are building GM’s best ever small cars now (at least the ones that are available in the US).

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          Many of the recent small GMs starting with the Cruze were Opel engineered but with localization by GM Korea.

          At a minimum it would appear to me that Opel & Vauxhall had input WRT the styling elements so it looked like part of their families. Opel is sold worldwide, even when it wears the Chevy badge, like in South America, Africa or the Middle East.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d say the black, cheap looking interior is pretty much the norm in this class. It looks a heckuva lot nicer than a Versa or that new Mitsubishi, though.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    No. There’s a limit to what Americans will accept just to get something new. The Mirage teeters on that brink, this joins Moriarty under the waterfall.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      If I’m buying from the General, I’d happily take a used Cruze or Malibu over this thing.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        There’s something to be said for the Spark; it’s cheap, easy on fuel in town and easy to park.

        If you’re looking for one car, yes, a Malibu with a few years under it’s belt is probably better, but if you want a full warranty and a second car, this is not a bad choice and is certainly nicer than the Mirage and more accomodating than the iQ

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Fair point. I see how this would be popular with early twenty somethings. It’s cheap, cheerful?, and has very good intergration with their mobile devices.

          Still, a Fiesta SE hatch is about $2000 more than a compareable Spark 1LT (the gap is the same between the 2LT and Titanium). Sign me up for the Fiesta. I can’t think of very many places in America that the size difference between the two matters.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            The Fiesta is actually less roomy inside than the Spark, excepting trunk space.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            The Fiesta is actually smaller inside than the Spark, except in trunk space

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The Fiesta is quite a bit larger than the Spark, which probably accounts for a lot of the price difference. The Fiesta really competes more with the Sonic than the Spark, I’d say.

            Either way, I’d buy the Fiesta too. Or, even better, I’d find a nice CPO Focus, preferably a SE hatch without the Ford touch thingie.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Just when I began to appreciate the Cruze they changed its very cool front end, putting the bowtie and crossbar up where Fred Mertz wore his belt.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If you’re making me choose a -new-, extremely cheap thing because I am poor and have no common sense (some people exhibit this), I’m choosing this over Mitsu all day long. Easy.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        But doesn’t the Mitsybitsy at least come with an AT and power windows in the base model? That’s at least a thousand-dollar bump right there for probably the same MSRP.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          You’re probably right. But if they let their RTO brass daybed go, they can afford the bump in monthly payment.

          • 0 avatar
            StaysCrunchy

            Jeebus, judge much? Maybe I’m the odd man out on this here, but I don’t look at what car a person’s driving and immediately snap to judgment on what their financial situation or FICO score is, or what items in their home they may be renting-to-own.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yeah I do. All of those things. Because generalizations help pass the time whilst driving.

            Edit: And expanding on this. Cars, habits, general possessions are all social indicators which per psychological and sociological need, we use to put people into pre-established boxes in our minds. The brain desires anything but an abstract about a person, hence snap judgments and the first two minutes of meeting someone being the most important. You might not say you do it out loud like I do, but you do – because that’s how your brain is wired.

            Smoking? Stickers on car (hobby/school/accolade/parking pass)? Mitsubishi? Wheel covers? Cheap sunglasses? Many things hanging on RVM?

            All indicators.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I’ll wade in here.

            I make a very excellent living – I’m well paid and have significant disposable income.

            I roll around on a daily basis in a Saturn Relay minivan because of choice. I could lease an A6 or 5-series tomorrow (I see no sense in taking the luxury car depreciation whack on a buy – so I’ll happily take their lease deal) but I choose to drive off in a fully paid off, likely fully depreciated van because it still runs, the AC still works, the heater still blows warm, and it still looks reasonably good on the outside.

            If that someone sends out a message, “whoa, that dude is broke,” all the better.

            Additional perk, I don’t care about where I park, door dings, pot holes, curbs, or spilling my cup of coffee in the morning.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            “whilst”

            Corey, where’d you pick that up?

          • 0 avatar
            StaysCrunchy

            You can keep telling yourself that everybody’s just like you if it helps justify your attitude or makes you sleep better at night, but that doesn’t make it so.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @pete

            You know, I dunno. Google tells me it’s a very seldom used word! There’s even a chart for literary mentions over time and the decline since the 1800s. I’ve never seen that feature before.

            @Crunchy

            I don’t have to tell myself these things, because they came straight from sociology books. Head on down to yer’ local library and do some reading, you’ll see. Aside from those with mental conditions, we’re all wired the same, with allowances for personality and preferences.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Karl is the name of a Winslow on Family Matters. Not the name of a car! And it makes me think of the excellent and desirable Lotus Carlton.

  • avatar
    SayMyName

    Great to see another vehicle following in the trendsetting footsteps of a 1996 Neon… by only offering power windows up front.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Maybe they should shorten the name to “Opel Kar.” Sums-up all you need to know about it.

    Let’s see: VW Up!, Mazda 2, Renault Twingo, Toyota Aygo, Smart ForFour, Fiat 500, or this bland design taken out of Hyundai’s recycling bin? This Kar would have to be pretty damn cheap to be in consideration.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    All too typical for GM: pretty decent design compromised by obviously cheap execution. That may be OK in this segment, though, particularly if the price is the same or lower as today’s Spark.

  • avatar
    insalted42

    Am I crazy, or does it sort of look like a mini-Encore?

    (I’m aware of how ridiculous the concept of a “mini-Encore” is)

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    i guess i could say it looks like a “hot karl”

    might not wanna google that if youre at work…

  • avatar

    I see GM’s newest three-spoke steeirng wheel design philosophy is present (also seen in the 2016 Chevy Cruze and 2016 Buick Envision.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I’m still waiting for the Opel Adam to be sold in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      You know, why?

      It’s not nearly as good in tests as the MINI Cooper or the Citroën DS3, and is worse-looking than either, in my opinion. I like the idea of forbidden-fruit cars coming over, but in this case, I’m not envious of the Adam at all. I saw a couple in Berlin last week. Meh!

      The Up!, incidentally, seems to be selling in droves (incl. in Škoda guise).

    • 0 avatar
      insalted42

      I could TOTALLY imagine GM slapping a Buick badge on that thing, painting it brown, and “unveiling it” in New York as Buick’s “luxury”city car. I can only imagine the “Buick-eque” name they would give it…

      I rented an Adam once and drove it for a few hours. It wasn’t bad…it was dreadfully slow and the manual was WAY too loose for a car so new, but otherwise it wasn’t bad. Imagine the Mini Cooper and Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva had a baby.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The Buick NoSuchCar, maybe?

        (Methinks the Verano is as small as Buicks are going to get, particularly with low gas prices)

        • 0 avatar
          insalted42

          Well, they already surprised everyone once before with the Encore didn’t they? And that worked out quite well for them.

          They could call the Adam Rocks the Buick Jouir, and it would be a Jouir on the Rocks.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Why not put a Cadillac badge on it? Hey, to paraphrase Melody Lee, people don’t buy products, they buy brands. If that’s really true, this should be a hit as a Cadillac – right? However, I suspect that if your baby drives up in this new Cadillac, she definitely ain’t never going back.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Buick’s first compact was the “Special”. That name goes back quite a ways, and could be just right for this car.

            Way back in olden times, Buicks were built on Cadillac platforms, with more sedate styling, for doctors, lawyers and other professionals. They were Caddies without the rub-it-in-your-face bling.

            I wouldn’t want to see a Cadillac version of this – I’m old enough to remember the Cimarron. Buick could pull it off, though.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I could totally rock an Opel Adam. I’m at the empty nester age and would really like a little runabout just for me to commute to work in. I like the idea of a Mini Cooper sized car with the Buick dealer network (and probable discounts on the car after a few months)…

  • avatar
    turf3

    Another small car styled like a doorstop. Bring that beltline DOWN in the rear, people! And get the pimp tint off the side and back windows. With the triangular rear windows and the dark tint, visibility to the rear is going to be abysmal, when it could be so good.

    As far as power windows, give me a break. For a car where you can lean across and roll the window up or down.

    I think the interior looks OK, although the black interior with all those windows is gonna cook you in the summer. But, I don’t understand why a front wheel drive car needs a huge center console. What goes under there, a gas line (1/2″ dia.), two brake lines (1/2″ dia.), a wire harness (3/4″ dia.) and an exhaust pipe (2″ dia.)? So all you need is a little rise of about an inch in the floor. Bring the lower edge of the IP up, and create some spaciousness, for cryin’ out loud.

    Oh well, at least it has lots of electronic doohickeys that will break in a few years, cost more to fix than the car is worth, and thus instantly depreciate its value.

    I keep wanting someone to make a small car that I like; the Corolla was pretty much there till they made it as large as an original Camry and gave it the teenager Transformers/World of Warcraft styling; and now all the little cars look like they were styled by fourth graders.

    Other than the insta-break electronics, it will probably be a pretty good car for point A to point B, except you can’t see out.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      “Other than the insta-break electronics, it will probably be a pretty good car for point A to point B, except you can’t see out.”

      Yes you can, but only forward. You have to be like the lady I met who said, “I don’t read signs, I just drive straight ahead.”

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The styling is well executed. Not bad.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I see they’ve corrected the awful front end, kudos. The model looks less like a clown car, at least from this angle.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Well, I think it looks like a doorstop styled by fourth graders who spend too much time playing with Transformers. Just like most of the other small cars these days. It’s a shame that rear visibility will be so abysmal with those weird triangular rear windows. Plus all the electronic doohickeys will fail in a couple of years, be more expensive to fix than the car is worth, thus never get fixed. And power windows in a car so small you can just reach across and roll the window up is silly.

    Underneath it all is probably a pretty good car. I just wish someone would make that car.

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