Vauxhall Tigra -

Used Car Review

Vauxhall Tigra, side

IF you're looking for an open two seater that won't cost the earth to insure or to run, the Vauxhall Tigra could be the one for you.

Some convertibles really hold their value over the years and many of them are very expensive to start with.

But the little Tigra coupe-convertible is smart and chic even up against some of them.

These Vauxhalls are now getting a bit long in the tooth - production finished in 2009 - but there are still good examples around with decently low mileage and the all important full service history.

Other small coupe-convertibles look great with the roof down but quite ugly when it's up. The Tigra however, is as pretty as a picture roof up or down.

Earliest models in good condition are now down to under £1,000 and even the base 1.4 90bhp engine offers plenty of driving fun despite not being particularly quick. The bigger 1.8-litre, with 123bhp on tap is much quicker and more enjoyable for the enthusiastic driver.

I once took the humble 1.4 on a 400 mile trip to the west country on a sunny summer's day. I had the roof down for the whole way and despite the lowly power output, good handling and road-holding made it hugely enjoyable - on ordinary roads as much of the way as possible.

The 1.4 is capable of about 40mpg in real driving and sprints to 60 miles an hour in 12 seconds. The 1.8's 123bhp gives it a 60mph sprint of a good 9.1 seconds and it should give a real 30mpg.

There is also a 1.3 diesel that is hugely economical, able to do an excellent 50mpg. But with only 70bhp on tap, it is painfully slow, only managing the 60mph sprint in 15 seconds.

The tiny roof doesn't take up too much space in the boot unlike those in other similar cars and it goes up and down at the touch of a button in just a few seconds, so that a sudden shower is never a problem.

The power steering is wonderful, helping towards well-balanced and vice-free handling and the road-holding is good enough for safe, quick cornering, even when being pushed very hard.

Supple suspension means comfort is also good, soaking up road imperfections fairly easily and well shaped seats give good support.

Standard equipment is more than enough for most people, with electric windows, central locking and a good stereo with remote control.

All also have alloys, four airbags, heated mirrors, sports seats and an alarm. Mid-range Sport adds foglights and a space saver spare wheel but air conditioning was an extra.

There's not much stowage space inside the cabin, but even with the roof stowed there is still 250 litres of space in the boot. The driving position is excellent for tall and short drivers alike.

Pay about £1,795 for an '08 57-reg 1.4 Exclusiv with 60,000 miles on the clock, or £1,995 for an '09 09-reg 1.8 Exclusiv showing just 55,000.

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