Vauxhall VXR8 Tourer
The muscular Vauxhall VXR8 Tourer has huge pace and an enormous boot. But is it worth £50,000?
Chances are, as soon as you step out of the Vauxhall VXR8 Tourer you’ll have a big smile on your face. It feels like an old-school muscle car, but it’s got enough room inside to carry virtually anything you can think of – all for less than £50,000. While we’ve got complaints about the quality of the cabin and the sky-high running costs, we can’t help but appreciate its charm.
The Tourer is the third member of the VXR8 family, following the saloon and the Maloo pick-up truck. All three share a 425bhp 6.2-litre V8, which drives the rear wheels through either our model’s six-speed manual box or a six-speed automatic.
It’s a pure muscle car experience, with 0-62mph taking 4.9 seconds and the V8 emitting a gruff rumble and roar when you floor the throttle. Rev the Tourer at a standstill and it’ll even rock back and forth on its springs.
The handling seems more sorted than you’d expect, so while the car does feel tail-happy if you try to power through bends, it’s actually quite balanced and grippy if you’re sensible.
The ride feels firm but well judged, with special reactive dampers that are slightly softer when you’re travelling in a straight line and a bit firmer when you’re cornering.
Even on 20-inch wheels, the Tourer doesn’t often get caught out by rough roads, and a decent amount of sound-deadening helps to keep the cabin pretty quiet at motorway speeds.
It all reveals a welcome level of sophistication that you might not necessarily expect when you look at the kind of performance the VXR8 offers.
It’s a shame the cabin doesn’t feel quite as high-end. If you’re wondering how this car is so much cheaper than other performance estates, you’ll find your answer in here. The design is pretty plain and the quality of materials is basic compared with something like the Audi S6 Avant.
For instance, it would be nice to see a Vauxhall badge on the steering wheel, rather than an HSV logo (a throwback to this model’s roots in Australia, where it’s sold as a Holden), which appears nowhere else on the car.
Outside, the vast proportions can make the VXR8 a little tricky to manoeuvre into a tight parallel parking space. Aside from looking absolutely enormous, the Tourer also has more of an understated design than the wild Maloo or the lairy VXR8 saloon.
Thankfully, the exterior dimensions do allow for a hugely practical cabin – in fact, this car’s boot is the biggest of any estate on sale, at 895 litres. The E-Class, by comparison, has a 695-litre load area. Fold the seats and the Tourer’s capacity increases to 2,000 litres. And even the tallest passengers will be comfortable in the rear seats.
While the VXR8 will set you back a relatively low £49,500, you’ll still need deep pockets to keep it running. Official fuel economy of 20.9mpg quickly drops to nearer 15mpg on the road, while the 324g/km CO2 emissions will mean a road tax bill of £1,065 in the first year.
If you’re brave enough to buy a Tourer, it’s feasible that you might never see another on the road – and that has an appeal all of its own if you’re after something charming and original. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that if you’re in the market for an Aussie-sourced fast Vauxhall, the four-door VXR8 GTS saloon is on the way, complete with 576bhp and torque vectoring, for £54,999.