2013 Vauxhall VXR8 Tourer review
* New VXR8 Tourer driven in UK * V8 engine makes 429bhp * Boot is twice as big as a Nissan Qashqai's...
The Vauxhall VXR8 Tourer is definitely one of the more unusual ways to transport a whole lot of stuff extremely rapidly.
It has a truly vast load area in the back, and a truly vast 6.2-litre V8 engine in the front. In the middle you get a cabin that's well, you can probably guess how big it is.
This is a big Australian behemoth, with a big heart and big sleeves to wear it on.
What's the 2013 Vauxhall VXR8 Tourer like to drive?
From the moment the 429bhp 6.2-litre V8 says 'g'day', you know you're in for an old-school muscle car experience.
The exhaust note burbles at idle and comes over all NASCAR when you put your foot down and when you squash the accelerator to the carpet the scenery starts to pass extremely quickly indeed.
The 0-60mph dash passes in just 4.9 seconds, and when the VXR8 Tourer eventually stops accelerating, your vast load of luggage will be doing 155mph.
The gearbox and clutch are both pretty heavy, which can make the VXR8 Tourer tricker to drive than you might expect. However, it's no one-trick straight-line pony, because it turns in to corners pretty well, even though the low-geared steering means you have to turn the wheel a bit more than you might have expected.
There's plenty of grip, too, but put your foot down too hard (especially if the road is damp) and the traction control system will leap into action to stop the car spinning.
Despite its square, utility car appearance, the VXR8 Tourer is a serious performance car, and has a suitably sporty quality to the way it rides. It's definitely firm, and it doesn't like the worst bumps on our roads, but nonetheless it won't have you wincing or trying to avoid every pothole.
What's the 2013 Vauxhall VXR8 Tourer like inside?
Much the same as the outside, which is to say big. It'll easily seat five robustly sized adults, and the 895-litre boot will take all of their luggage. Even if they're planning to go camping for two weeks.
The large front seats wrap around you, hold you reasonably well in place, and feel like they'll keep you comfortable over a long distance.
However, the rest of the interior is a sea of grey, medium-quality plastics, while the dashboard is much like the rest of the car simple and big.
The glass area is huge and square, so the VXR8 Tourer feels like the world's fastest greenhouse, although the tiny door mirrors make judging the pace of cars behind quite tricky.
Mind you, you'll usually be travelling faster than them anyway, so it isn't a huge issue.
Should I buy one?
We'd love to say yes, and there's absolutely no doubt that the VXR8 Tourer provides a big-hearted, simple driving experience that no rival can emulate.
However, we cant overlook the facts that the car costs 49,500 and drinks like an alcoholic at opening time (official average fuel economy is just 20.9mpg, and youll get nowhere near that if you succumb to the way the car goads you into going faster).
That said, depreciation isn't too bad the VXR8 Tourer should still be worth around 48% of its list price when you sell it three years down the line.
Mind you, it has such engaging, back-slapping 'cheers mate' charm that you may well find selling it an extremely difficult thing to do.
What Car? says...
Mercedes E63 AMG Estate
Engine size 6.2-litre V8 petrol
Price from 49,500
Torque 405lb ft
0-62mph 4.9 seconds
Top speed 155mph
Fuel economy 20.9mpg
By Euan Doig