A characterful car, if you get the right one!
Nothing at all - maybe as this was one of the last Tigras, Vauxhall managed to get it right!
It may not have the respect that the Puma seems to garner, but in my opinion, the Tigra is a better looking car - seems to have some of the Japanese designed magic of the Mazda MX-5 (maybe it's because it is a Japanese design?) whereas Ford's design team seem to have a fondness for a tacky Art Deco (Ka excepted) pointless mouldings and ugly tail light clusters. The Tigra is beautiful to look at, especially the front - maybe the rear less so, but this is an aspect which most car manufacturers find difficult to get right.
I wanted a silver automatic, but because the car had already gone out of production when I ordered it, I had to settle for a pearlescent dark green manual (actually, there's nothing pearlescent about it - the dark blue is pearlescent, but the green is simply metallic). Anyway, the gearbox is so smooth and responsive, and easy to use that I'm glad that I didn't get the auto. Plus the fact that it is EXTREMELY economical to drive - uses half the petrol of my previous car (a Rover 1.6 200 auto), a boon for mostly city driving.
A major plus point for me is that there is very little cabin noise, even at highish speeds, and NO RATTLES WHATSOEVER - I am perversely allergic to rattles, and would gladly trade performance for a quiet cabin. This baby seems to be very tightly built.
Love the luggage net, again this reduces rattles compared to a typical hatchback parcel shelf, and is elegant to boot. Talking of the boot, against all odds, it's surprisingly roomy, and with the rear seats down, you can face a trip to Homebase with equanimity (although the sill is high).
Very comfortable around town, although for longer journeys it can be a trial on your lower back. I'm 6' 1", and find headroom and legroom excellent - I even have to have the seat slightly forward. Passengers in the rear seats (seats?) just have to take their chances and be glad they're getting a ride at all.
Control layout is superb (Corsa heritage, I presume), best I've ever encountered, and the stereo (in later models at least) is also excellent, ghetto quality, without a hint of distortion, even at high volume. My minidisc player integrated particularly well, and sounds better than the cassette. The footwell is a bit cramped, especially for your left foot, but you get used to it.
My main gripe is that the interior in my colourway is finished in the palest of grey velours - door trim and everything. This is proving extremely impractical, but having said that, the stains seem to shampoo out well - so far! But, if given the chance, I would go for a darker colour.
Performance is OK, but nothing more. As I've said, the transmission is very smooth, but you get more poke at high speeds than you do at the lights, where things are more hatch than sport. In fact it's not really a sports car at all, just looks like one. That said, I'm still very impressed.
This is a car that you can love. There aren't that many about, and as Vauxhall have finished production, there aren't going to be any more. If you can find one with the reliability that I've enjoyed, then you're onto a winner. My local Vauxhall dealership couldn't seem to care less, and parts are outrageously expensive, so it seems to be a matter of luck. Me, I'm going to keep mine till it falls to bits.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 31st August, 2001