2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Opel Vivaro. The Opel Transporter made its premiere at the Brussels Commercial Vehicle Salon in 2001, marking the start of a successful story: the Vivaro quickly became a significant figure in Opel's commercial vehicle agenda. Simultaneously, the first Vivaro generation predicted the current "International Van of the Year 2021" award, which goes to the fully electric van: Opel Vivaro-e.
More than a million Vivaros have gone off the production line so far. Since the spring of 2019, the third generation of a bestseller has been on the market. In addition to the diesel variations, the driveline also includes a battery-electric option for the first time, the new Opel Vivaro-e.
The first Vivaro generation was born through a collaboration between Opel and Renault. In December 1996, the businesses decided to collaborate in light commercial vehicles to create particularly appealing vans for consumers. As a result, Opel is broadening its product line to include light commercial vehicles (LCV = Light Commercial Vehicles) up to 3.5 tons. The Opel Arena, the Vivaro's immediate ancestor, initially appeared on the market in 1997; two years later, the first Opel Movano appears in the segment above the Opel Arena.
Opel and Renault will each contribute 700 million euros in Vivaro's design and manufacturing. After only 35 months, the companies have unveiled an entirely new version. While Renault focuses on innovation and drivetrains, Opel is in charge of manufacturing. The new Opel Vivaro and its sister vehicle, the Renault Trafic, will be manufactured in Luton, England, at least at first.
At the time, the revolutionary Opel Vivaro design was unique among light commercial vehicles. It has an appealing look as well as optimum utility and efficiency. "We put just as much focus on aesthetics as we did on a passenger vehicle with the Vivaro," said Opel Head of Design Hans Seer. The "jumbo roof" is the focal point of the futuristic design. The "pilot's cockpit" not only provides outstanding headroom for the driver and front passenger, but it also makes it simpler to get on and off quickly, which delivery and courier services particularly enjoy - an essential purchasing factor for a vehicle in this sector.
When it initially appeared on the market in 2001, the front-wheel-drive Vivaro was available with a 1.9-liter standard diesel engine with 59 kW / 80 hp and 74 kW / 100 hp and a 2-liter diesel engine with 88 kW / 120 hp. Shortly after, a bigger 2.5-liter diesel engine with 98 kW / 133 hp was added to the driveline lineup. While the entry-level diesel is paired with a five-speed manual transmission, all bigger engines are mated with a six-speed manual transmission. Also, to conserve space, the gearshift lever is ergonomically designed and incorporated directly into the center console.
Opel already sold the Vivaro in over 20 different configurations, with a 2.7 or 2.9 tons gross vehicle weight. Customers may select between two wheelbases - 3,098 or 3,498 millimeters - and three body types - panel van, estate vehicle, or platform chassis - all with plenty of room for a wide range of items. Even short-wheelbase panel vans and station wagons have a load capacity of five cubic meters. The van's extended variant can even fit three Euro pallets in its six cubic meter loading area.
Because professional drivers spend most of their time behind the wheel, the interior designers made the Vivaro cab as comfortable and ergonomic as possible. In addition, the Opel Vivaro introduced state-of-the-art entertainment technologies from the Opel passenger car line into the commercial vehicle range at the time, including an incorporated navigation system, telephone, and CD changer.
Front and side airbags, as well as three-point seat belts for all passengers, ensure maximum safety. The Opel Vivaro-e, as is typical of Opel, sets safety standards. Every Vivaro comes equipped with driver airbags and three-point seat belts for all passengers. In addition, passenger and side airbags are optionally available for light commercial vehicles. The independent wheel suspension on the front axle is based on the McPherson principle, and the torsion beam rear axle with Panhard rod improves active safety and provides comfortable handling. Disc brakes also establish standards on all four wheels (ventilated at the front) and an electronically controlled four-channel ABS with brake force distribution.
Another advantage was Vivaro's low maintenance requirements, which were still in place at the time. Service intervals of 30,000 kilometers or two years and a brake fluid replacement after 120,000 kilometers make the van even more cost-effective. This is also protected by the standard three-year mobility warranty and the twelve-year rust perforation guarantee. The Vivaro is also becoming an unmatched economic rival in insurance ratings, thanks to its service and repair-friendly design.
However, Opel has larger ambitions for the Vivaro. The Opel Vivaro-e Concept makes its international debut at the 2010 Commercial Vehicle IAA. Opel is exploring a concept that will be realized ten years later in the new battery-electric Vivaro-e series. Opel had already presented the Vivaro-e Concept, a study of an electric vehicle with a range of over 400 kilometers. With a cargo space of five cubic meters, a payload of 750 kilos, and a 111 kW / 151 hp electric motor, it demonstrates what a commercial electric vehicle can achieve and how environmentally responsible e-mobility is increasingly appealing for trade and industry.
By 2014, about 600,000 Vivaro would have departed the manufacturing premises. The second Vivaro generation debuts in the same year, with optimized variability and a new appearance that borrows from the design language of Opel vehicle models. The Opel Vivaro B is also highly flexible: it is available in two-vehicle lengths and two heights, as a panel van, station wagon, double cab, and bus in many configuration possibilities.
Two entirely new turbo diesel engines guarantee that the Opel Vivaro gets away swiftly. There are two engines to pick from: the 1.6 CDTI and the cutting-edge 1.6 CDTI BiTurbo with sequential charging and a twin-cooler system. The advanced engine combines exceptional performance with minimal fuel economy. In the combined cycle, this decreases by more than one liter with the new designs.
Opel produced about one million Vivaro A and B vehicles before the third generation was introduced in 2019. Instead of the previous two lengths, the new Vivaro is available in three lengths. There is also a plethora of cutting-edge technology, ranging from adaptive traction control IntelliGrip and a 180-degree rearview camera to top-network multimedia entertainment.
Simultaneously, with the third generation of Vivaro, Opel is driving into the future on the drive side: the new battery-electric Opel Vivaro-e is an electric van without compromises, capable of being used globally in everyday work - and all while emitting no emissions. Furthermore, customers can select between two battery sizes based on their needs: The 75 kWh lithium-ion battery allows Opel Vivaro-e to travel up to 330 kilometers without charging, while the 50 kWh battery can ensure a range up to 230 kilometers WLTP. As a result, the Opel Vivaro-e electric van won the "International Van of the Year 2021." with these characteristics. @via Opel.