Ten Point Test

Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 76%

The name may sound familiar – but the latest Tigra couldn’t be more different to its predecessor.

The original was an uninspiring coupe which struggled against the excellent Ford Puma. But with the second generation Tigra, Vauxhall has joined the coupe-convertible crowd.

It’s still based on the Corsa – the third generation, not the current model – but the Tigra has a character all of its own.

1. Looks 8/10

The Tigra is clearly a Vauxhall – its trademark angular headlights and creases on the bonnet make that totally clear. It shares many components with the previous generation (00-06) Corsa, but is lower and wider. This gives the Tigra a purposeful stance, looking like it’s about to pounce. Its high boot (a necessary evil to store the folded roof) makes it tricky to park. The roof is one of the Tigra’s party pieces, retracting electrically in around 20 seconds. The powered bootlid, which opens and shuts at the touch of a button (or a door-mounted switch in the cabin), is a surefire attention grabber in the car park. The Tigra comes with 16-inch alloys as standard, although some models get a 17-inch upgrade; including our Exclusiv Red test car, which gets a bespoke set. All colours get the rear quarters of the roof painted silver.

2. Looks inside 7/10

Against the angular and contemporary exterior, the cabin looks dated. Lifted from the previous Corsa, Vauxhall have tried to jazz it up with a pair of sporty seats, which are dark red on the limited edition Exclusiv Red, but it lags behind some of its competitors. The top half of the dash is well laid out, with white dials and silver inserts. But the space in front of the gearstick, although large is a fraction too small to store CDs. The switches for the roof and boot release are aft of the window switches and our road testers were frequently met with a shrill buzz when the wrong ones were operated on the move.

3. Practicality 8/10

The Tigra boasts best-in-class luggage space, with a 440-litre boot (250-litres when the roof is folded) and an additional 70 litres behind the seats, which proved extremely useful. This is largely due to the total absence of rear seats – often a token gesture in these kinds of car. There’s a divider in the boot which can be moved to stop luggage sliding into the roof’s part of the compartment. There are enough storage spaces in the cabin for most drivers and the roof folds in a reasonably rapid 20 seconds. To do so, the occupants must release a pair of very stiff catches either side of the windscreen and press a button. One potential annoyance is the powered boot. Although it can be opened from the cabin when stationary, a button on the rear of the car has to be held continuously to close it. Performing this in the cold or the rain would become tiresome.

4. Ride and Handling 7/10

The Tigra proved to be a good steer with the roof in place, largely unaffected by the shaking some other coupe-convertibles are affected by. With the roof folded, the scuttle shake is more pronounced. The steering is a little too light and ought to provide more feedback, but should be more than adequate for the majority of buyers. The ride quality is good too, with it soaking up most of the imperfections in the road. All in all, the Tigra is good, but doesn’t match up to the likes of the Mini.

5. Performance 7/10

The 1.4-litre engine fitted to our test car performed well enough with just the driver, but after adding a passenger on a hilly road and we found ourselves looking for second gear just to keep up with the flow of traffic. A 1.8-litre petrol and a 1.3 diesel – the only diesel fitted to any small coupe-convertible – are also available and should prove a better choice. The Tigra is capable of maintaining a motorway cruise with any engine. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard across the range, while an auto is available with the 1.4.

Click here to see more pictures of the Vauxhall Tigra

6. Running Costs 8/10

The Tigra range starts at £13,750 – about the same as a Ford StreetKa – and rises to almost £17,000. The range topper’s prices only fall short of the excellent Mazda MX-5 by a little, which would be the top choice for keen drivers. Insurance is higher than we’d expect at groups 10 to 13, but Vauxhall has worked hard to keep the Tigra’s repair costs low and servicing is every 20,000 miles (petrol) or 30,000 (diesel) or every 12 months – longer than average.

7. Reliability 8/10

The Tigra is based on the Corsa, so there should be few surprises with any of the mechanicals. Like any coupe-convertible, there are plenty of parts which could go wrong, but only time will tell.

8. Safety 8/10

A four star rating from the EuroNCAP crash test programme is typical of coupe-convertibles, which generally offer less structural rigidity than fixed-roof cars. All models come equipped with Vauxhall’s Dynamic Safety chassis, which has been tuned for the Tigra to improve comfort and safety. The Tigra has disc brakes all round, with ABS and ESP with a two-stage brake booster which ensures the brakes are applied for maximum effectiveness. Driver, passenger and side airbags are also standard

9. Equipment 7/10

All models in the Tigra range get 15-inch alloy wheels, low profile tyres, sports suspension and seats, stereo radio/CD player, steering wheel-mounted controls for the stereo, remote central locking, multi-function display panel, electrically operated boot release, power assisted steering, electric windows, electric heated door mirrors. Our limited edition Exclusiv Red model adds red leather seats, a wind deflector which attaches behind the seats, air-con and unique 17-inch alloys. But for the price, we’d expect a little more.

10. X-Factor 8/10

The Tigra is a rare breed of teeny drop-tops that manage to be fairly practical and fun. Its cheeky demeanour means it can tread where others can’t in urban areas and shuns cutesy, curvy looks for a real angular treat.

Key facts
Model tested: Vauxhall Tigra 1.4i Exclusiv Red
On the road price: £15,545
Range price: £13,995 – £16,685
Date tested: August 2007
Road tester: Stuart Milne