Each weekend, I play golf. And as soon as I started looking after our long-term Vauxhall VX220 Turbo, I became something of a novelty at the club. Not for my outstanding play on the course you understand. It was for the bizarre sight of me climbing from the VX220 then struggling to haul my clubs, trolley, shoes and assorted bits and bobs from the passenger's seat every Sunday morning. I'm fairly confident it's not a problem Tiger Woods has ever encountered.
Each weekend, I play golf. And as soon as I started looking after our long-term Vauxhall VX220 Turbo, I became something of a novelty at the club. Not for my outstanding play on the course you understand. It was for the bizarre sight of me climbing from the VX220 then struggling to haul my clubs, trolley, shoes and assorted bits and bobs from the passenger's seat every Sunday morning. I'm fairly confident it's not a problem Tiger Woods has ever encountered. But despite its inadequacies as a suitable golfer's car, the VX excelled in most other departments. Our time with the rag-top is now over, and it's had an exceptionally hard life. Early on, it was pushed to its limits in a series of trackday tests and, as reported in issue 816, was the victim of an uninsured driver who left it with a long scrape down one side. Fortunately that was fixed, although we weren't convinced by the repairs - the bodywork is fine, but to my mind, the cabin was somewhat overlooked. For example, a fixing pin was never replaced, so the plastic trim covering the passenger doorsill was loose. This added to the squeaks and rattles which were the main musical accompaniment when driving the VX220. The engine-cover catch never worked properly after the accident, either. It caused the lid to bounce whenever the car was being driven. Then, to add insult to injury, on the Vauxhall's final weekend before being returned to the Luton manufacturer, an unnamed assailant drew two thick, black, felt-tip pen lines along the length of the passenger's side while the VX220 was parked outside my house. My panic subsided when I realised the ink was not permanent and, after half-an-hour with a bottle of T-Cut and plenty of elbow grease, I managed to erase the marks. Once spruced up, the car reminded me just how good it can look. Moreover, its ability to make people stop and stare has never diminished. It's just a pity the interior can't be kept clean - we pointed out the internal problems on our first long-term VX in Issue 701. The heating vents sucked up all manner of rubbish from the road and deposited it all over the dashboard. And because the seats have little or no adjustment, any small items - such as coins - which found their way underneath were there for life. However, none of that really mattered when the sun was shining and the roof was off. That's when the VX came really into its own. As an everyday car, though, the VX220 Turbo was not the best choice. The lack of storage space made shopping trips to the supermarket a bit of a pain for my girlfriend, as she would end up with several carrier bags on her lap. And it still annoys me that Vauxhall didn't see fit to put a cargo net on the passenger's side of the dash, simply to provide a bit of additional capacity. But you don't buy a VX for its roominess, and I don't want to sound as if I didn't enjoy the car. It's a fantastic piece of machinery. Having said that, though, I think we've probably handed it back at about the right time. With winter well and truly on its way, a convertible is far from ideal - especially one with such an ineffective heater. When the cold mornings arrived last year, I distinctly remember having to de-ice not only the outside of the windscreen, but the inside, too! I won't miss that, but I (and my fellow golf club members) will be sorry to see the VX go.