Used Vauxhall VX220 Open 2000 - 2006 review

Category: Sports car

A superb sports car at affordable prices

Vauxhall VX220 Open (00 - 06)
  • Vauxhall VX220 Open (00 - 06)
  • Vauxhall VX220 Open (00 - 06)
Used Vauxhall VX220 Open 2000 - 2006 review
Star rating

What's the used Vauxhall VX220 sports like?

The Vauxhall VX220 is too extreme to be a rival for the Mazda MX-5 or Toyota MR2, so its natural competitor is the car that shares its chassis, the Lotus Elise. Unlike most contemporary Elises, however, the VX comes with anti-lock brakes and a driver's airbag as standard.

It has a choice of two engines - a 145bhp 2.2- or 197bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged unit - and basically you're choosing from fast or very fast. The standard VX's performance is sensational, but the Turbo can take on the very best high-performance cars.


A superb sports car at affordable prices

  • You get supercar looks, performance and handling - but at small hatch prices
  • The hood is not 100% weatherproof, and getting in and out can be tricky

The VX's light weight means there's no turbo lag to worry about, either. Instead, there's just instant power coupled to brilliant handling.

Both versions of the car go round corners superbly, and the driver is rewarded with phenomenal sensitivity through the steering wheel and other controls. There's no power-assisted steering, but the VX doesn't need it, even at parking speeds. The five-speed gearbox used is precise and keeps the engines singing.

What's more of a surprise is that, despite its sporty feel, it also has a supple ride that takes care of comfort. The only word of caution is that getting in and out of a VX is an acquired skill.

Ownership cost

What used Vauxhall VX220 sports will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Vauxhall VX220 sports?

For such a specialised and focused sports car, the Vauxhall VX220 is amazingly easy on the wallet, thanks to enjoying the same labour rates as a Vauxhall Corsa. The only difficulty is that you will have to find a Vauxhall dealer that has a VX-trained mechanic or track down an independent specialist. Either way, you'll need to visit them every 10,000 miles.

Insurance is affordable for a car with such performance and the car's light weight means that fuel economy of 30mpg is easily attainable in daily driving, although the small fuel tank means you won't go far between visits to the petrol station.

The tyres on a VX are peculiar to that model because of their unusual sizes - the front ones are quite narrow for a performance car. So, when you're looking at a potential purchase, make sure its tyres have plenty of tread, or you could be facing a steep bill for a full set of replacements.

Our recommendations

Which used Vauxhall VX220 sports should I buy?

We'd recommend either model, but if your budget can stretch to the Turbo, do so. It has the same delightfully balanced chassis and handling as the 2.2-litre model, but considerably more power (197bhp v 145bhp), so it's that bit quicker.

That said, the 2.2-litre model is not far behind the Turbo - it still makes a brilliant choice, and it's easier to live with than its contemporary Lotus rival, the Elise.

Most VXs will have been specified with leather seats, which are worth having, and an upgraded CD stereo, which becomes redundant at speeds beyond 60mph due to wind noise.

A hard top is a desirable option and makes the VX more winter-proof, although it can squeak and creak. There was also a special edition Lightning model (finished in yellow with black wheels), but don't pay any extra for it.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Vauxhall VX220 sports?