Vauxhall VXR8

The Essentials

  • Price from £45,030
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 20.9mpg
  • What is it? Grin-a-minute sports car for attention seekers who need a touch of practicality

Great

  • Packs a hefty punch from the mighty 6.2-litre engine
  • Plenty of space inside
  • Great fun to drive, you'll beg to be the designated driver

Gripes

  • Resale values are disappointing
  • Interior design doesn't live up to the car's sporty character
  • Running costs are astronomical
  • Drive

    Masses of power and grip, and standstill to 60mph in less than five seconds

  • Inside

    Console yourself that while the design is incredibly dull, you're sitting comfortably

  • Safety

    Plenty of protection if you get carried away, including high-performance brakes and stability control. No deadlocks is a security weakness

  • Reliability

    Solidly built and should be reliable

  • Space

    A surprising amount of space for a sports saloon: room for four people and their luggage

  • Standard and extras

    No extras, but the standard equipment won't disappoint

  • What's it like to drive?

    Nicknamed 'The Thunder from Down Under', the Vauxhall VXR8 is a rebadged version of an Australian muscle car and it's lost none of its sporting pedigree on the trip north. The 6.2-litre engine has plenty of punch and just as much grip in corners, complete with a firm ride. There's a suitably ferocious snarl from the engine when it's worked hard, too.

  • What's it like inside?

    The VXR8 is one of the roomiest sports saloons, and the seats will hold every shape and size in place comfortably, too. Only the central rear passenger loses out as they straddle a bulky raised tunnel. The dash is dull but does its job well. It's a pity the enormous rear spoiler intrudes into the rear view. The car comes with plenty of goodies like electrically adjustable leather sports seats and a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, but you won't have to ponder over the options list - there isn't one.

  • How reliable is it?

    It's definitely a well built car and the safety features will help you out in any sticky situations. Only the lack of deadlocks is a security weakness. The car has a good record for reliability, too.

  • Should I buy one?

    Running costs aren't great: the insurance will be high, it drinks fuel like there's no tomorrow and less careful drivers will be forking out for new tyres more often than they'd like. There's no doubt that it's huge fun, but it's possible to have just as much fun for rather less money.