Honest John Vans explains how to find a good Vivaro on the used van market.
Easy to drive, practical and inexpensive to run, the Vauxhall Vivaro is a British-built success story. During its production run, from 2014 to 2019, it regularly appeared in the UK’s top 10 van sales charts and this means there’s plenty of choice on the second-hand market.
As with the old Vivaro – built from 2001 to 2014 – the van was co-developed with Renault (the French alternative being the Trafic), the British/French mash-up using the same basic structure as its successful predecessor, but with an all-new body and interior.
While the Vivaro wasn’t the biggest van in its class, even in shorter L1 guise it can accommodate three Euro pallets, the maximum payload being 1281kg (in L2 H1 spec), with the 1.2 metre load width between the wheelarches allowing 8 x 4 foot panels to fit in with ease.
Around £5,000 is the entry point to an early 2014 Vivaro, though you might find one for less if you’re willing to accept moon-shot mileage and/or no record of maintenance. With so much choice out there you’d be mad to, though.
Between £7,000 and £9,000 there’s huge choice, with plenty sub-100,000 mile models on offer. Here there is a decent choice of engine power outputs, with the high power BiTurbos typically in the £8,000 and above sphere.
Get into the £10,000 and above price range and you’ll be looking at even newer examples, more often than not sold from dealers. We’d be surprised if you don’t find a suitable van at or around the £10,000 mark, but if you do want nearly new, with sub-20,000 miles then you’ll be looking at £12,000 and above.
At launch, the entry level engine was a 1.6 CDTI diesel with 90PS and 240Nm of torque. A more powerful 115PS version, with 300Nm of torque was also offered, its ecoFlex alternative gaining 5PS for 120PS and 20Nm more torque thanks to BiTurbo technology. Those gains brought with them improved consumption and emissions, indeed, the 120PS ecoFlex, is the most economical engine in the Vivario line-up, with emissions as low as 155g/km and advertised economy of 47.9mpg.
Topping the line-up was a further development of the 1.6 CDTI BiTurbo engine, it developing 140PS and 340Nm of torque, it, like all the engine offerings, able to deliver official combined fuel consumption figures comfortably between 40 and 50mpg. In reality consumption will be more in the mid to high-30s. Euro6 engines arrived late in 2015.
Vauxhall dictated a service every 25,000 miles, or two years, whatever was earlier. If you’re doing short-drop driving, it’s worth more regular check ups at 12,000 miles. And paying for those shouldn’t be too expensive, interim servicing from an independent will cost around £150.
For a major service you’d be looking at around £230, and adding about £30 to that would include an MOT. Should you need a clutch replacing you’ll be looking at a bill of around £800, while new front brakes and discs will cost you in the region of £200, fitted. A pair of front shock absorbers costs about £240 fitted, while rear ones shouldn’t cost more than £200.
What to watch
Vivaros – built from June 2014 to April 2016 – were subject to a manufacturer recall to rectify a possible failing of the bonnet catch. A further recall was made for the Vivaro’s parking brake, for vans built between June 2018 and August 2018. Other recalls relate to the EGR pipe, airbags, seat fitment, brakes and suspension. Check with the DVSA, or Vauxhall, if any remedial work has been done, or is required.
Listen for any knocks or creaking from the suspension, any wandering on the road will point to wear in the suspension or bushes. Get it on a lift and check for any movement/wear and replace accordingly.
Some Vivaros have had issues with their headlights coming on or not switching off properly. This is a software issue, which should be able to be fixed by plugging it into a Vauxhall diagnostics machine. Door handles can also be weak, and fall off. Check they’re not loose. Bodywork around the front is prone to stone chips, so it’s worth adding a protective film if it’s not been done already.