What's the used Vauxhall Monaro coupe like?
It's best to think of the Monaro as a simple, effective and affordable alternative to BMW's M3. Its 5.7-litre V8 comes in three states of tune, from 'just' 328bhp all the way to 381bhp. Then there's the 6.0 V8 VXR with 397bhp that's good for 170mph.
In other words, there's no such thing as a slow Monaro. It just depends on how quickly you want to get where you're going and how much fuel you want to use in the process.
What's not as impressive as the performance is the cabin, which uses too much cheap plastic. Still, it's got plenty of space, and it's comfortable thanks to the supple suspension. The Monaro also makes a fine long distance machine thanks to the big V8 engines' lazy power delivery, relaxed sixth gear and good refinement.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Vauxhall Monaro coupe?
The Monaro's engines are understressed, even in the most powerful VXR models, so they're unlikely to give trouble. And, the car has been around in Australia for many years with no reports of mechanical problems.
The main things to watch for are signs of abuse and crash damage. Make sure the car sits straight and true, the tyres are evenly worn and there are no scratches or dents on the underside from where the car may have gone off the circuit on a track day. The rear tyres are pricey to replace, so check their tread depth.
Apart from that, there's little to worry about with a Monaro other than carrying out the usual history checks and insisting on a full service history, which most cars will have. Also make sure the car is an official UK import.
What are the most common problems with a used Vauxhall Monaro coupe?
Is a used Vauxhall Monaro coupe reliable?
What used Vauxhall Monaro coupe will I get for my budget?
How much does it cost to run a Vauxhall Monaro coupe?
After buying your car, the two biggest financial considerations will be insurance and fuel. All Monaros are in the top group 20 insurance bracket, so getting cover will be costly, and many mainstream insurers will not deal with it, so you may have to look for a specialist company.
After that, fuel economy might not be such a shock, although it's still sub-20mpg in normal driving for all models. Even with the lightest of right feet and a clear motorway, you'll still become very familiar with the petrol filler cap.
What's more, the rear tyres wear quickly, so budget for these every 10,000 miles - or less if you like to use the power all of the time.
That said, it's not all doom and gloom, because the Monaro can be serviced at most Vauxhall dealers, which means reasonable labour rates. And, parts' prices won't break the bank, either.
Which used Vauxhall Monaro coupe should I buy?
Our choice is the most powerful of the 5.7-litre V8 models because there are enough of them around second-hand and their performance is only a fraction behind that of the even more potent 6.0-litre. The 5.7 version also has fractionally better fuel economy, although no one ever buys a Monaro to save the planet.
That said, even the 328bhp Monaro is a very quick car, and all models come with a rumbling V8 soundtrack for free.
They also all have spacious cabins and decent equipment, but the VXR models look a little more aggressive and less 'jelly mould' than the standard models. However, the VXR's repositioned fuel tank does mean its boot is not quite as large as the standard model's.