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General Motors has taken the wraps off its affordable city car for the European market, which will be sold as either the Vauxhall Viva or Opel Karl depending on the market.

At 3680mm from front to rear, the new five-door, five-seat Viva is just 40mm longer than the Holden Barina Spark.

In the UK and Europe, the Viva/Karl will initially be offered only with a 55kW 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

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Depending on the trim level, safety kit includes stability control, traction control, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, hill start assistance, lane departure warning and cruise control.

The features list extends to a sunroof, fog lights, heated front seats and steering wheel, parking sensors, climate control, and GM’s IntelliLink touchscreen entertainment system.

Entry-level models ride on 14-inch wheels, while top-spec versions are equipped with 16-inch alloys.

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The new hatch, which goes on sale in the second quarter of 2015, has been named in tribute to the Vauxhall Viva that was sold across English isles between 1963 and 1979. The Viva name was used more recently in Australia when Holden rebadged the Daewoo Lacetti.

In the rest of Europe, the Viva will be sold as the Opel Karl, which is named after Carl Opel, one of three sons of Opel’s founder, Adam Opel.

Vauxhall VIVA

On the mainland, the Opel Karl will start from under 10,000 euros ($14,700). This will place it underneath the 10,785 euro ($15,800) Suzuki Splash-based Agila, as well as the Adam. The marginally longer Adam is only available as a three-door hatch and starts at 11,750 euros ($17,200) in Germany.

While the Adam is highly customisable, the Viva/Karl is expected to feature just a few trim and equipment packages.

When GM first teased the Viva/Karl, Kate Lonsdale, Holden’s product communications national manager told CarAdvice that the company would assess the Viva’s suitability for the Australian market, but had, at that stage, no announcements to make.

We’re waiting to hear back from Holden as to whether that situation has progressed further.




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