A rough diamond
Front windscreen leaked on passenger side.
Clutch cable snapped once.
Left front indicator seal perished.
Left front steering boot leaked oil.
Cylinder head required decoke.
Timing chain wear.
Spare wheel well in boot leaking.
Minor corrosion on lower front wings near front doors, as well as on rear lower front passenger door.
My first car, thanks to my parents, who wanted me to piddle about in something larger than a Mini and something more solid than the rather flimsy Japanese offerings of the day.
I was the third owner, the second being the wife of an airline pilot. It was metallic orange/red with a black vinyl roof and looked quite sporty.
At that time, most popular European models were assembled locally and this Viva was no different, being done by the same company that did Mercedes-Benz models and it displayed quite a good quality of finish, unlike earlier models done by another contract assembler.
Performed quite well, but rather temperamental at times. Economy average to good, depending on traffic conditions and moreso whether the aftermarket air-conditioning was in use.
All black vinyl interior rather stark, no rear armrests, just strap door pulls. Cars were basic then, this one had no reclining seats, water temperature gauge or rear door courtesy lights either.
Furthermore, the black interior and black top made it a scorcher when parked in the open.
Being my first car, it was inevitable that it was accessorised while I owned it, and so Minilites, a radio/cartridge player, additional instruments, stick-on white coachlines to emulate the UK spec and a stick on full-width rear window demister were added. Eventually, air-conditioning was retrofitted too, but this really blunted performance and economy when in use.
Despite everything, I really miss this car and wish I had another like it again, as it really has character missing from today's similarly sized family offerings.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 7th March, 2003