World, say hello to the Opel Karl and its continental compatriot, the Vauxhall Viva. An all-new minicar set to more or less replace the Chevrolet Spark in the European market, as the Bowtie brand will soon be withdrawing from the market in 2016. The Opel Karl and the UK’s Vauxhall Viva will nestle itself in the European automotive market as a frugally-minded city car, slotting itself below the price point of the hip Opel Adam minicar.
“Short, crisp and full of character – the name Karl reflects its strengths. Opel’s new entry-level model is a grown-up car and will appeal to heart and intellect,” says Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “Karl offers typical Opel virtues starting with the high-tech, quiet one-liter, three-cylinder engine and by no means ending with our award-winning IntelliLink infotainment system. The Opel Karl is the ideal car for price-conscious customers looking to combine everyday suitability with comfort and modern technologies.”
The five-door Karl and Viva models will hit the streets of Europe during the summer of 2015 for less than €10,000 (about $12,300, and about €1,500 under the Adam) with a combination of the latest safety, comfort, and infotainment technologies that have no rivals in the segment. Powered by a 1.0L 75-horse three-cylinder, the Karl and Viva will feature class-leading smoothness and efficiency. While those are core competencies in the segment, chassis and steering dynamics have not been ignored − the new models come standard with ESP with traction control, ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and Hill Start Assist. Optional is the Lane Departure Warning which uses front camera sensors to alert the driver when (s)he strays from the lane.
Other features that stand out in the segment include City Mode, which reduces steering effort at the push of a button, Park Assist to prevent unwanted bumps when squeezing in between other parked cars, cruise control with Speed Limiter to make sure you’re maintaining your proper speed in small towns (i.e. to help avoid speed traps), fog lights, and cornering lights. Indeed, the Karl and Viva twins provide “exceptional safety and comfort at the top of its class,” according to Opel.
Inside it’s much of the same − features that set the Karl and Viva apart from others in the segment. The driver-focused cockpit feels spacious with room for five while exhibiting quality and details that feel like they’re from a more upmarket car. Plus, the IntelliLink infotainment system allows seamless integration of Apple iOS and Android devices brings your smartphone world into the vehicle.
With ten different colors and plenty of wheel and rim designs (14 to 16 inches) to choose from, it will be easy to tailor-make Opel and Vauxhall’s new smallest model when it comes to market next summer. Expect more information on the little Karl/Viva around the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, just before its Spring 2015 launch.