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Holden Viva 2006 Review

The Viva comes as a sedan, wagon or hatch, the latter going on test here with the $2000 option of an automatic gearbox.

Despite the translation of the name, the Viva may not even inspire much cheer — but at least Vegetarians International Voice for Animals — yes, it does exist — can empathise.

Though the name has connotations of fun, relaxation and good cheer, Holden's Viva hatch is less promising. But the former Daewoo Lacetti presents as a neat, attractive and well-sized car that, at $17,990 for the manual version, is good value for money.

For Holden, the Korean-made Viva offers buyers a car the size of its Astra for a saving of $4000 — and, for that price, the Viva is well equipped.

It comes with airconditioning, electric front windows and mirrors, four-wheel-disc brakes, four airbags, an MP3-compatible CD player with controls on the steering wheel, tilt and telescopic steering-wheel adjustment, remote central locking, height-adjustable driver's seat, five lap-sash seat belts, split-fold rear seats and a full-size spare tyre.

The Viva comes as a sedan, wagon or hatch, the latter going on test here with the $2000 option of an automatic gearbox.

And that's pretty much all you need. Well almost.

Those who remember my recent road test on the Holden Barina — also made in Korea by Daewoo — may recall I criticised the performance of the engine for having "a few ponies missing" — too little horsepower.

Well, I've found those ponies. All three are under the bonnet of the Holden Viva.

That may not be totally correct, but that's what it feels like to drive the automatic Viva.

Mated to an automatic gearbox, the 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine — made by Holden in Melbourne — refutes its capacity by being, frankly, gutless.

The gearbox isn't too bad, with four gears and a ragged-gate shift pattern to prevent accidental changes, and there's no sequential manual mode.

Once it reaches its desired speed, it cruises quietly, comfortably and fuel efficiently.

The Viva's long wheelbase contributes to the ride comfort and, theoretically, should aid handling through the corners.

But while Holden has done a lot of work in tying down the body to make it handle, the Viva has none of the predictability and sure-footedness of the Astra.

I would suggest that Viva buyers aren't Astra buyers, and vice versa. Simply, you get what you pay for.

The cabin is pleasantly designed, with a soft-feel plastic dash usually found on more expensive cars.

This is punctuated by round vent outlets but, while these are quite big, you need a high fan speed to pump cool air around the cabin.

The seats are relatively comfortable, though there's little lateral support, but the Viva is a few hundred kilometres away from being a sports car, and easy seat access is more important than body support.

It's a nice car for a decent price, but not something to sing about.

Pricing guides

$3,999
Based on 32 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$1,800
Highest Price
$7,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 1.8L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,400 – 4,070 2006 Holden Viva 2006 (base) Pricing and Specs
Equipe 1.8L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,400 – 4,070 2006 Holden Viva 2006 Equipe Pricing and Specs
(base) 1.8L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,400 – 4,070 2006 Holden Viva 2006 (base) Pricing and Specs
Equipe 1.8L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,400 – 4,070 2006 Holden Viva 2006 Equipe Pricing and Specs
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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