Friday, July 10, 2015

Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva

2016 Opel Karl

2016 Vauxhall Viva

The latest city cars in General Motors' European division, the Opel Karl and its British equivalent, the Vauxhall Viva, are more than just serving as a replacement for the old Agila city car but these new city cars will satisfy first-time drivers who got themselves a driver's license in the first place and start finding their first car to work with at very reasonable prices.

Sure, they maybe targeted for European audiences in mind but what makes us as bizarre as the curly haired man who talks about aliens from a certain show is these cars are both built in South Korea and they're based on the next Chevy Spark, which sadly, it won't be coming to the European mainland for good due to Chevrolet's withdrawal from the European market. Perhaps no wonder why GM Europe decided to use the Karl and the Viva as the supplement for the Chevy Spark's European demise much in the same case when their next-generation Astra will supplant where the Chevy Cruze left off. Of course, the next Cruze will not be coming to Europe at all.

2016 Vauxhall Viva interior

2016 Opel Karl interior

So, what's it all about these new city cars made for European first-timers in mind? For starters, the design may not be bad for a city car but it looks as cheap as its introductory price of 9,500 Euros (7,995 Pounds in the UK). On the inside, that's a total contrast to its cheap exterior looks because if you gone for the top-spec models, you get a nifty sat-nav system but whatever you do, don't even bother bringing your CDs because in the Viva, you can't find a CD player. It's just USB and Bluetooth connectivity made to play your digital files and this is just another one of the cruel ways why there are some cars of the future don't bother putting CD players and instead gone for the limp-wristed USB and Bluetooth connectivity because it's more convenient. It's a shocking grim vision that within the next two years, all new cars will not have CD players at all.

Anyway, while we wist away over its audio system that has no meaning of equality over music mediums, the Karl/Viva feels like a normal car for that size and with seating up to five people, it's a great car if you want to have a day out with your mates. The spacing's not so bad but it still needs room for improvement though because being a car made for first-timers, it needs to adapt situations where typical first-timers tend to go through such as garage sales, shopping malls, groceries, and so on.

2016 Opel Karl

2016 Vauxhall Viva

Since this is built to be a city car in the first place, the Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva has to be like one and it has a one-litre ECOFLEX engine with up to 75HP of power and 99g/km of CO2 emissions mated with a 5-speed gearbox. That doesn't feel as quick by today's standards but it feels so nippy and lively for a small car and when you engage it to CITY MODE, the Karl/Viva feels so easy to handle as carrying a tote bag on your way to school. Although not sporty, it's somewhat a bit fun to drive and very civilized as well. Safety wise, the Karl/Viva has a lot of safety features for a small car like the rear park assist technology, hill-start assist, lane-departure, cruise control, speed limiter, and more. This is a great car to start with if you're new into the driving scene.

So, what's to like about the Karl/Viva? Its price, its mobility, its small car performance, and it's a great car to start with. What's not to like about these cars are its sat-nav system because it doesn't have a CD player, its cheap looks, its small boot that needs refining, and there are some things that needs a little work to keep the Karl/Viva competitive with the rivals.

Photo: General Motors Europe

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