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Vauxhall Tigra Coupe 1994-2001


quoteThe Vauxhall Tigra was based on the B-generation Vauxhall Corsa. Although it shared the platform, engines, gearbox and the suspension, the Tigra was an entirely different car and was positioned as a fun-car.quote

Pros and Cons:

  • It looks good
    Very comfortable driving position
  • Very cramped in the back seats
    It’s not the safest car

bullet Exterior and Interior

In 1994 when the car just appeared on the market, its design was considered novel and revolutionary. Like or dislike it, but the shapes are bold and brave. There is a certain fluidity about the inclined and curvy sides that seem to be bending around the car to finish towards the unconventional looking rear end.

The car was marketed as a 2+2 coupe, but considering that there is very limited space at the rear and that the rear seats don’t have headrests, it’s best to keep the car as a two-seater. As a two-seater it has a decent boot size of 425 litres and the large tailgate makes for easy access.

The front two seats are in fact very comfortable. There is plenty of leg room and the low seating position makes you feel like driving a sports car. Other fun factors that are normally present in a sports car are, however, mainly absent in the Tigra.

With the low seating position and the strange rear end come visibility issues. You’d have to stick your head out or send out your passenger to give you orders to reverse safely.

The Tigra was one of the first Vauxhalls that opened a very wide and impressive palette of colour choices.

bullet Engines

The Tigra is available with two small petrol engines: 1.4-litre 88bhp and 1.6-litre 104bhp. Both are borrowed from the Corsa.

bullet Performance and Economy

There just never seems to be enough power. The car is reluctant to accelerate. On a positive side, the top speed is higher than that of a Corsa mainly thanks to the lower drag coefficient. Although the engineers did a lot to bring the weight down, the Tigra is actually slightly heavier than the Corsa, making it even harder for the small engines to perform well. The top speed of the Tigra is 126mph – a 7-mile improvement from the sporty Corsa.

The fuel economy is not bad, either, especially if you compare it with other competitors. The 1.4-litre engine has a fuel economy of 38mpg and the 1.6-litre engine returns 36mpg. Adding an automatic transmission will decrease the mileage by at least 2mpg, potentially more if the car is driven hard.

bullet What it's like to Drive

Rather disappointing. The car shares its two engines with a Corsa and considering that the 1.6-litre unit comes from a Corsa GSi, you’d expect the Tigra to be an even quicker car than the GSi. It’s not the case. The GSi will reach 60mph in a faster time than the sporty Tigra. The question is whether you really need a "sports" car that takes 10 seconds to accelerate to 60mph. It was designed to be driven actively and enthusiastically, however, the enthusiasm will soon disappear, it will get shaken away by the suspension. It was fine-tuned at the Lotus factory, but for some reason, the suspension performs as erratically as on a Corsa. The Tigra is mainly about the appearances and it does look better than any other Vauxhall-built car of the mid 90s.

On a positive note, it does have an improved gearbox. The gear ratios were reviewed and switching and the manual gearbox is actually quit pleasant to use experience.

bullet Faults and Repairs

Unfortunately, the Tigra is known for its poor reliability as is its donor car the Corsa. Major problems are related to the brakes, Lotus suspension, electric systems and engine. The suspension, axle and engine, are responsible for most of the breakages and can be pricey to repair despite the Corsa being so popular.

Small jobs are easy and cheap to repair, but in the case of the Tigra, especially if it’s old, the jobs rarely come small and easy. One major benefit is that many Corsa and Tigra parts are inter-exchangeable, making it easier and cheaper to repair.

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