Vauxhall Viva Reviews from North America

1969 Vauxhall Viva

Model year1969
Year of manufacture1969
First year of ownership1975
Most recent year of ownership1978
Engine and transmission Manual
Performance marks 2 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.2 / 10
Distance when acquired6000 miles
Most recent distance15000 miles

Summary:

Great first car for a poor teenager

Faults:

Brakes.

Brakes.

Brakes.

General Comments:

No matter what we did (my Dad was a mechanic), the brakes would unexpectedly fail. It was my first car, and I bought it in 1975 for $300. The previous owner bought it new, but gave up on it. He couldn't sell it to anyone else but me.

It was great on gas, always started, and only had some surface rust on the leading edge of the hood.

After the brakes failed for the last time... we traded it for a Viva Wagon. I guess my Dad and I just had fun working on them. Lots of memories of a time, it seems, when you were just as happy with a silly Viva, as I am now with my current car... go figure.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th November, 2011

1964 Vauxhall Viva HAS

Year of manufacture1964
First year of ownership1968
Most recent year of ownership1971
Engine and transmission Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10

Summary:

Should have kept making this style.

Faults:

Brakes were weak.

Connecting rod bearing.

General Comments:

The steering was dead accurate. The car moved with precision with a touch of the wheel.

Transmission shifted better than an MG.

Was stable, on any type of gravel road, above 80mph.

Center of gravity was not bad. Even on a hill it would normally slide rather than flip over.

This car was fun and surprisingly fast for 64cuin. I drag raced and beat an MGA. Could smoke the tires in a turn. Was fairly tough as I ran it full to the floor for about a year until the crank went.

Car was very light with thin metal sections allowing rust to finish it off very quickly.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 20th August, 2005

1969 Vauxhall Viva Base 55 cu in

Year of manufacture1969
First year of ownership1969
Most recent year of ownership1972
Engine and transmission 55 cu in Don't Know
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 0 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.2 / 10
Distance when acquired10 miles
Most recent distance40000 miles

Summary:

Junk

Faults:

Valve grind at 10,000 miles.

Clutch plate replaced 3 times.

Starter solenoid replaced 3 times.

Heater valve stuck open - twice.

Thermostat failed.

Replaced Shocks at 30,000 miles.

Brake linings at 35,000 miles.

Y hose to rad ruptured.

Exhaust system fell off after 3 years.

Air emissions pump failed twice - removed after second failure.

Shifter broke off in my hand.

Air filter filled up with ice on a clear, cold winter day on the highway.

Head gasket leaked after 2 years.

Hand brake light kept coming on.

Gas pedal kept freezing to the floor.

Car wouldn't start on damp days when the temperature was below +40 F (5 C)

Fuel lines tended to freeze.

Fuel pump replaced 2 or 3 times.

General Comments:

This car was a twin of the Viva, called the Envoy Epic (should have been Epidemic) and sold by GM.

All maintenance schedules were followed and the car was never driven above 65 mph.

The car had the best shifting I've ever seen in a standard.

When I got rid of it, It wouldn't go above 50 mph even though everything was checked out.

It was such a pile of junk I won't ever go to a GM dealer to buy a car, never mind a British car.

I still remember the serial number - it was in so often for repairs - 931319E316624.

When I went to a GM dealer to try to trade it, the sales manager basically said it was a worthless vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th January, 2003

4th Sep 2003, 22:25

Must have been one hell of a lemon that you bought!!! Pity that because Vivas were renowned as tough little British cars albeit with a nasty tendency to rust. Parts would probably too have been quite difficult to obtain in the US during that era.

4th Jul 2004, 16:31

My parents bought an Epic for $2000. in the late 60's when I was a child in Canada. I remember standing on the side of the road many times waiting for the car to be towed. It broke down so many times I lost count.

For anybody who thinks this car is anything more than piece of junk I challenge you to show me one - just one of the 13,000 sold in Canada that is still running today. If any still exist they are probably on display at the museum of the worst cars ever produced.

Only 13,000 of them were sold in Canada because a class-action law-suit was launched against GM by many unfortunate owners.

I'm a person who likes a reliable car. I live in Arizona now and would not purchase anything other than an American made car. They are fairly reliable these days and when they do break down the parts are cheap and readily available.

From my experience, British cars are unreliable. I know people who love them, but have to keep a battery charger in the garage.

Average review marks: 4.3 / 10, based on 3 reviews