Long term tests

Vauxhall Vectra VXR

2500 miles in a week and the VXR ran like a Swiss watch

eCoty is usually a good excuse for me to get to drive some of the year’s best cars. But this year things were different. With time tight and a lot of photography to be done, I spent the entire week in the Vectra.

It all started with a long and dull drive down to Clermont Ferrand in central France, with my brother following in the Cooper S Works. I wasn’t expecting the Vectra’s satnav to have our hotel in its memory banks and I was right. In fact the closest place I could find on it was nearly 30 miles away. The VXR and I fell out…

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

After getting quite lost and arriving very late, it was an early start the next morning to recce the area in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the team. It would probably have been more sensible for us to have taken the nippy little Mini, but instead we opted for the Vauxhall.

Up and down more mountain passes than Hannibal’s elephants we went, but VX07 was always great fun, comfortable too. By the time we’d found the ideal roads and returned to the hotel (using a map) to await the others, the VXR and I were friends again.

The next day it was straight into the shoot. Leading the 12 eCoty contenders to our chosen location was quite daunting, but at no point did the VXR seem to be holding anyone up. In fact the amazing thing about it is that, even when loaded-up with all my camera gear, stepladders, cleaning equipment and rubbish left behind from on-the-go lunches, it still has amazing performance. This was particularly apparent on the second evening when we chased a flying Catchpole back to the hotel. Henry, in the Ferrari no less, charged off down the road, accelerating away as if the setting sun had just scolded his bumper. For no other reason than competitiveness, I decided to chase him, knowing all too well I shouldn’t stand a chance. For the next half an hour the Vectra and I hunted down Henry and the Ferrari, never losing sight of them. The VXR’s turbocharged V6 would pick up speed in an instant, and even with all the gear in the back there was no apparent fading of the brakes or the expected understeering frenzy.

OK, perhaps Henry would say that he wasn’t trying too hard, but the Vauxhall was still absolutely phenomenal nonetheless. It made me wonder why there aren’t many people driving around in one. After all, it’s fast, it’s fun and it’s hugely practical.

Not once during the week did I feel short-changed to be driving the VXR, and over the 2500 miles we covered, it was faultless (well, apart from the nav). Unfortunately the tyres were pretty much finished off by the pounding they took on the mountain roads. Then on the way home my brother, who had managed to wrestle the keys out of my hands, managed to catch a rock thrown up by a lorry with the Vectra’s windscreen.

Both are due to be sorted in the next couple of days, then we’ll be off to another airport. No rest for the wicked…

Running Costs

Date acquiredJune 2007
Total mileage19,938
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month3506
MPG this month22.0

Most Popular

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car
News

SSC Tuatara hypercar hits 331mph, making it the world’s fastest production car

Over a decade after SSC last entered the record books, its Tuatara has claimed the title of world’s fastest production car
19 Oct 2020
Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble
Cupra

Hot Cupra Formentor spied testing – with a five-cylinder warble

Is Cupra about to get hold of Audi’s brilliant five-cylinder petrol engine?
19 Oct 2020
Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot
Alpine

Alpine to become high-performance Renault offshoot

Heated-up Renaults but no A110 replacement for Alpine as it follows in Cupra and Abarth footsteps
21 Oct 2020
2020 Fiat 500 priced from £19,995 in the UK
Fiat 500

2020 Fiat 500 priced from £19,995 in the UK

UK pricing and specifications for the all-new, all-electric Fiat 500 have been announced
26 Oct 2020