Vauxhall Vivaro-e parked side on
Ryan Darby

Ryan Darby

Ryan is the Content Marketing Executive at Carparison, keeping you up to date on our socials. He also takes the lead on our fantastic car reviews, and with his experience, is the perfect person to make sure you have all the information you need.

Read time of 8 minutes.

Van-like practicality meets executive comfort levels

Multi-Purpose Vehicles, or MPVs, can often lack character. Too often they’re merely seen as a passenger alternative to their more robust, workhorse equivalents. The Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life is a different story. Oh, and it’s electric!

While not a direct rival due to the price difference, the Vivaro-e Life competes with the Mercedes-Benz EQV in terms of space. You can also consider sister MPVs from Citroen and Peugeot, the e-SpaceTourer and the e-Traveller – though differences between the three will be minimal.

Let’s see how we got on.

What did we drive?

Battery: 50kWh lithium-ion

Model Line: Elite (L)

Transmission: Auto

Power: 136ps/260Nm

Colour: Diamond Black

Wheels: 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels

OTR from: £32,495 (after PiCG)

Price of model driven: £49,465

Price

Once you account for the Plug-in Car Grant, the Vivaro-e Life is cheaper than its combustion engine alternative. This isn’t all that common with electric vehicles, so it’s a real feather in the cap for Vauxhall when compared to some of its rivals.

Entry-level models will set you back at least £32,495, while the Elite trim level that we were driving can start from £49,465. Prices for the standard Vivaro Life can start from £34,815.

The electric MPV offering from Mercedes may offer similar space in the form of the EQV, but the price tag doesn’t come close. The EQV starts from a whopping £71,645, further highlighting the Vivaro-e Life’s impressive value.

Through Carparison, you could consider a Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life lease deal, which creates a cost-effective monthly payment. This allows you to enjoy this hugely practical MPV for a fraction of the total cost.

Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life charging port

Electric Range and Charging

Depending on the trim level you go for, the Vivaro-e Life has an electric range of up to 143 miles (128 for the Elite trim). Included comes a 7.4kW onboard charger and mode 3 cable. You can also add an 11kW onboard charger at an extra cost.

For a vehicle of this size, how much of that potential electric range you see will largely be down to how and where you drive, as well as how many people you carry. 

With minimal load and passengers, we found the real-world range to be impressively accurate. However, once you start adding in more and more passengers or taking it on longer motorway journeys, there’s no denying that the range will decrease quicker.

This is caveated by some very respectable charging times. The Vivaro-e Life can recoup up to 80 per cent of its charge in just 30 minutes via a 100kW rapid charger.

With its space being its biggest strength, we think it’s fair to assume most Vivaro-e Life drivers are likely to be carrying large groups frequently.

As a result, there’s a good chance you already have a stop at a service station planned. So, while it may lose range sooner than expected, it doesn’t become too impractical.

Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life parked sideways

Drive

You don’t lease the Vivaro-e Life for its speed, but let me assure you, feeling the instant torque that you get from an EV in a vehicle of this magnitude is an oddly satisfying feeling. Enjoying that instant torque is one of the biggest benefits of an electric car lease and you don't lose that enjoyment by upsizing. 

With social distancing in mind, we didn’t have the chance to test the acceleration with a full crowd in the back, but with two or three of us inside at any given time, it pulled away reasonably well. It’s not lightning quick, but you won’t struggle to get up to speed on a motorway in it, that’s for sure.

The steering felt noticeably weighty and I wasn’t convinced at first. However, once you get going, you quickly get more comfortable and that same weighty steering soon becomes quite reassuring. It offers a greater sense of control, rather than feeling unnervingly agile. You do feel the weight and the presence of the Vivaro-e Life when you’re behind the wheel, but it’s incredibly smooth to drive and easy to handle. 

Anyone concerned about the Vivaro-e Life’s range can make use of the regenerative braking system, which acquires kinetic energy under braking or as you lift off the accelerator and turns it back into power to improve your range. This is amplified in ‘B-Mode’ and offers a refined experience behind the wheel for fans of ‘one-pedal’ driving.

Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life interior and design

Design and Interior

With the Elite trim, the best compliment I can offer to our Vivaro-e Life is that it didn't feel anything like a Vauxhall. We know, what a backhanded compliment, but stay with us...

The interior felt extremely premium, bordering on executive thanks to the Carla Black Leather. We experienced something similar in our recent Vauxhall Mokka-e review, as the manufacturer makes great strides in improving and enhancing the designs of their latest models.

The classy feel to the interior helps elevate the Vivaro-e Life beyond what may have previously been considered as simply a boring MPV. With the Elite trim, you also have creature comforts like a heated power driver’s seat and heated front passenger’s seat with a massage facility and electric sliding side doors.

The interior design is spacious, airy and welcoming. By doing this, Vauxhall have created an EV that can be used for both family life or professional use. Where MPVs can often falter is their inability to shake off that ‘van-like’ feeling, but you don’t get any sense of that here.

The 17-inch bi-colour alloy wheels that come exclusively to the Elite trim add to the Vivaro-e’s imposing road presence, creating a smart and commanding exterior. 

Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life interior space

Space and Practicality

Incredibly spacious doesn’t come close to doing the Vivaro-e Life justice. This Elite version included just the two front seats, rather than a front bench of three. Given the choice again, I would pick the front two seats over a bench. It helps create a welcoming and airy cabin. Despite there being room for seven in this Vivaro-e Life, you never felt enclosed or cramped. 

As you make your way through the vast space, you’re met with a very generous amount of head and legroom in every seat. Even in the second row, where you have the sunroof above, space is abundant, meaning taller passengers can still enjoy excellent comfort levels. You can create an equally good amount of space in the third row too by making use of the variety of seat configurations.

A low footstep to get into the vehicle makes the Vivaro-e Life easy to access and as a result of the generous space between the seats, moving around the vehicle is anything but difficult.

With room for this many people, Vauxhall have stepped up with a decent amount of storage opportunities throughout the vehicle. In the front, you’ve got huge, deep door bins. Though there’s a lack of what you might consider traditional storage space without a centre console, there are cubby holes and cup holders dotted throughout.

The boot space, despite having three benches, is very competitive, even once you’ve packed away your charging cables. This only adds to the vehicle’s practicality, though you will have to be wary of the massive boot opening. Don’t go parking too close to the walls in the supermarket! 

For easy access, Vauxhall have caveated this by giving you the option to open up the window separately to drop in bags of shopping or smaller items, a really handy feature when parking in tighter spaces.

Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life touchscreen

Technology

Technology and connectivity are not the Vivaro-e’s strongest assets, but that’s not the reason you lease one. You do so for its practicality and space – however, because of the number of passengers you’re likely to be carrying, it’s worth noting. 

Our Elite version included four 12V sockets dotted throughout the vehicle but just one USB input. If you're not carrying a full group you'll get by just fine, especially with the option of a 220V three-pin plug underneath the driver's seat too. However, if you've got six or more travelling with you, another USB or two wouldn't go amiss.

In the cabin, the touchscreen is complemented by a refined design, where there’s a nice mixture of touchscreen options and hard physical buttons. Everything is well within reach of the driver and easy to use. The e-INFO instrument panel is also a fantastic addition to the Vivaro-e Life. It’s crisp, easy to follow and hugely informative.

Safety

The Vivaro-e Life comes with an array of safety features that make it a suitable family vehicle. As standard, you get six airbags, an anti-lock braking system, tyre pressure monitoring system, hill start assist and daytime running lights.

If you upgrade to the Elite level trims, you get additional driver assistance and safety packs, 10 airbags over the standard six and features like blind-spot assist.

The Elite trim also offers you access to a Panoramic rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors – making it a worthwhile step up. The former is an optional extra on the entry-level Combi trims, costing £860 but we found it invaluable when trying to park, so it's something to consider adding to entry-level spec.

The Vivaro-e Life doesn't have an official NCAP safety rating yet, but sister MPVs like the Citroen e-SpaceTourer and Peugeot e-Traveller both received five stars during their tests previously.

Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life badges

Model Lines and Equipment

Combi 

  • 16-inch steel wheels
  • Digital radio/AM/FM radio
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Cruise control with speed limiter
  • Air conditioning
  • Hill-start assist
  • Vauxhall Connect
  • Maximum 9-seat capacity

Elite

(In addition/replacement from Combi)

  • 17-inch bi-colour alloy wheels
  • Multimedia Navi Pro infotainment with a 7-inch colour touchscreen
  • Leather seat trim
  • Dual-zone electronic climate control
  • Side blind spot alert
  • Front and rear parking distance sensors
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • Maximum 8-seat capacity

*Prices correct at the time of publication

Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life rear

Verdict

The Vivaro-e Life delivers immense practicality with a touch of panache that you may not have been expecting.

The comfort levels and space available in the Vivaro-e Life is very impressive. The ability to carry that many passengers in a vehicle that emits zero CO2 emissions is just the cherry on top. 

The variety in the seat configurations allows you to make the Vivaro-e Life exactly what you need it to be, though the lack of connectivity in the rear might be a shame for some passengers.

We can’t deny, how and where you drive will affect the range you get. However, if you’re leasing a Vivaro-e Life, there’s a good chance you’re going to be carrying large groups – so we’re confident a quick stop at the service station isn’t going to be too much of an inconvenience.

Interested in leasing a Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life or any of our other electric car lease deals? Browse our latest personal contract hire offers and business contract deals.