Vauxhall Vivaro (2001–2014)

What's good

Good load space and easy access through side-hinged or lift-up tailgate options, while FlexCargo system is clever and practical.

The engines in the Vauxhall Vivaro offer good power in town and the more powerful 115PS unit is ideal for longer work thanks to good refinement.

A supple ride and exceptionally good handling mean the Vivaro is pleasure to drive and not something you dread stepping in to for work.

Ecoflex models are more expensive but offset this with lower operating costs thanks to reduced emissions and improved economy.

What's bad

Recall 04-04-2003: Possible detachment of brake pedal linage retaining clip.

Recall 15-12-2008: Possible failure of parking brake as cable connector may fracture.

Recall 12-11-2009: Seat may become insecure on second and third row seats if fitted.

Recall 22-07-2010: Steering may fail due to welds on left front suspension turret not being to specification.

Recall 01-03-2011: Handbrake may fail as cable end-piece crimping may become detached.

Recall 07-09-2012: Seatbelt buckle may fail and separate from connector on double-cab models.

There’s a little too much wind noise from around the windscreen when speeds creep above 30mph, which is annoying on motorway jaunts.

There are two wheelbase and roof options, but the Vivaro shows its age by not offering more variety in its body options.

The Tecshift semi-automatic gearbox is worth considering for town use, but its delayed gear changes are not as good as the standard manuals.

General Motors PK5, PK6, PF1, PF6 manual transmission failure common in Vivaro, Movano, Traffic, and Primastar. The 'built-in' fault, which will result in failure, irrespective of how the vehicle is driven or serviced, is that the gearboxes are assembled in such a way that the preload on the bearings is massively over-torqued, which results in bearing failure, and the total destruction of the box from as low as 20k upwards. In some cases the boxes are built up so tight that it makes turning the box over by hand virtually impossible. Once the bearings are replaced, and shimmed correctly, the box will “go on” virtually indefinitely.

Report on BBC Watchdog that some 2006 - 2010 Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Vivaro and Nissan Primastar vans fitted with the 2.0 dCi M9R diesel engine were suffering from rainwater dripping from a failed bonnet seal at the base of the windscreen into the valley on the top of the engine containing the injectors. On a van left for long period unused, or used primarily for short runs, this water is not evaporatred off by the heat of the engine and causes corrosion between the injectors and the cylinder head, fusing the injectors to the head (very similar to the notorious problem with Ford Focus 1.6 petrol engines). There is now a new piece of kit that can extract corrosion fused injectors from diesel engines. The current Vauxhall Technical Service Bulletin (published in August 2013) covering injector corrosion states that Vauxhall will make a 100% goodwill contribution to replace the injectors on vehicles up to 7 years old and 248,000 miles. The first Technical Service Bulletin pertaining to this issue (published in June 2010 and effective up to August 2013) stated that vehicles within warranty would be repaired under the conditions of the warranty. Vehicles up to 4 years old/100,000 miles would be repaired with a goodwill contribution of 70% from Vauxhall. Vehicles up to 5 years old/100,000 miles would be repaired with a 50% goodwill contribution from Vauxhall.

Very common gear linkage problem Renault Trafics, Renault Masters, Nissan Primastars, Vauxhall Vivaros and Vauxhall Movanos from 2001. The selector cable bush wears or simply pops off  the balljoint on the gearbox selector arm. Warrington Transmissions ( has developed a repair clip to prevent this from happening for just £8 that takes a mere 15 minutes to fit.

3-11-2017: Report of Nissan Primastar van developing a "really low biting point on the clutch" making it almost impossible to get a smooth change. Garage found no leak in the hydraulics, so removed gearbox and replaced the clutch. Showed owner that it was in good condition and confirmed no leak from slave cylinder or cranskshaft end seal or transmission input shaft seal. Problem persisted. Garage eventually discovered that pedal assembly had fatigued and was pulling away from the bulkhead. Something to watch on ageing Primastars, Vivaros and Trafics.


What does a Vauxhall Vivaro (2001 – 2014) cost?