Opel Karl Revealed: Holden Viva Reborn? Photo:
2015 Opel Karl - Leaked Photo:
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2015_opel_karl_small_01 Photo: tmr
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2015_opel_karl_small_02 Photo: tmr
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Mike Stevens | Dec, 03 2014 | 5 Comments

GM’s new city car, to be sold in the UK as the Vauxhall Viva and elsewhere as the Opel Karl, has been unveiled in Europe this week.

The new model, which was first teased back in September, will enter both line-ups as a more conventional - and perhaps more affordable - companion to the (very) compact Adam hatch that launched in 2013.

At just 3.68 metres long, the Karl (or Viva, if one prefers) is around 20mm shorter than the Adam.

But, as a five-door model with a taller roofline, the new hatch’s obvious advantage in practicality over the style-focused Adam will prove more compelling for many buyers.

Indeed, Opel and Vauxhall promise “more than enough room for five people” in the identical Karl and Viva hatches - although the equation likely includes a small child or two.

Power in the Karl and Viva will be provided by GM’s new 55kW 1.0 litre three-cylinder Ecotec petrol mill, although larger options in the new engine family might join the range later.

Features will include the Apple- and Android-compatible Intellilink infotainment system, along with cruise control, a sunroof, foglights and heating for the front seats and steering wheel.

Safety gear includes lane departure warning, park assist, electronic stability control, traction control and hill-start assist.

In Europe, the Karl will replace the Opel Agila, a 3740mm long city car that sits below the Corsa hatch (briefly sold in Australia as an Opel, and as the Holden Barina in generations before that).


Viva To Replace Barina Spark In Australia?

We might also see this new city car in Australia in the future as a replacement for the Korea-sourced Barina Spark, whose slow-but-steady sales have fallen to 1174 year-to-date from 1782 for the same period in 2014.

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Replacing the Spark with this new Viva could give Holden a strong play against Mitsubishi's dominant Mirage, which is eclipsing the entire city-car segment with 6155 year-to-date sales.

Only the Fiat 500 (2757) presents any threat to the tiny Mitsu, and the Micra is the only other to break through 2000 with 2168 year-to-date.

Holden remains silent on whether it will bring this compact new Opel to Australia, although it has previously confirmed that a significant number of its future models will be sourced from the German brand.

All of this suggests that a return of the ‘Holden Viva’ badge - last seen here on a small hatch in 2009 - could be on the cards.

MORE News & Reviews: Barina Spark | Sub-Light 'City Car' Hatches

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