If passenger space is your top priority, to the detriment of all else, then the Vivaro Life is worth a look. Next to the Volkswagen Caravelle, it looks like a bit of a steal, and while it isn’t quite as smart inside, or as well as equipped, it’s almost as pleasant to drive.
But while you can slather it in snazzy metallic paint and fill the interior with leather armchairs, the Vivaro Life’s workmanlike origins are still just a little too obvious (and its deficit in safety equipment hard to forgive). So if you can live with having slightly less space for your £40,000-or-so, you’ll probably be happier with a more conventional SUV or MPV. Something, in short, that isn’t an embellished van. Whoops.
Vauxhall Vivaro Life 2.0 180 Turbo D Elite Auto
TESTED 1,997cc four-cylinder diesel turbo, eight-speed automatic gearbox, front-wheel drive
PRICE/ON SALE £42,760/now
POWER/TORQUE 178bhp @ 3,500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2,000rpm
TOP SPEED 105mph
ACCELERATION 0-62mph in 10.4sec
FUEL ECONOMY 40.6mpg (WLTP Combined)
CO2 EMISSIONS 151g/km (NEDCeq)
VED £855 first year, £465 next five years, then £145
VERDICT If you absolutely must have minibus-like space with lots of toys thrown in, the Vivaro Life does the job, and among its rivals it’s not bad value. But at this price, most buyers will find a traditional MPV (or SUV, even) delivers almost as much practicality with far fewer compromises.