Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Excellent performance
- Plenty of room for passengers
- Great blend of handling and ride
- Heavy gearshift and clutch can create problems while driving in town
- High running costs
The Vauxhall Monaro shares very little in common with other Vauxhall models you see on the road. It’s a sporty and aggressive looking car with a range of impressive V8 engines that set it apart. This is because the Monaro originated in Australia under Vauxhall’s sister company Holden and was later imported and rebadged. The interior is surprisingly spacious for a coupe, seating four adults easily and providing a boot that should easily be able to hold their entire luggage. The Monaro is no hardcore sports car despite its V8 engines, giving a very relaxed drive and feeling slower than it actually is.
Exterior and Interior
The Monaro shares very little with other Vauxhalls and its looks is unique. It was designed by Holden in Australia and as such comes with a more sporty and aggressive look than we are used to seeing from Vauxhall cars. The VXR looks even more aggressive than the standard model. It is also surprisingly spacious inside despite only being a two-door coupe, with enough room in the back for two adults to sit comfortably. The boot should easily hold everyone’s luggage, but the VXR does come with a smaller boot due to the fuel tank being repositioned.
It has received better quality interior trim as well compared to the Aussie Monaro with leather seats, good quality plastic and aluminium being used in all the models. There is almost no difference between the trim levels in the standard and VXR models. Both come with climate control, a CD multichanger, cruise and traction control, electric mirrors and windows, sports seats, parking sensors and loads of airbags.
Performance and Economy
All of the engines are immensely powerful and quick and offer roughly around the same fuel-efficiency, too, so you are unlikely to be disappointed no matter which engine you go for. The entry-level model does 0-60mph in just 6.0 seconds and is the most economical at 19mpg. The engine that replaced it does the same in 5.7 seconds and drops the economy down to 18mpg. As for the VXR models, the original unit offers the same 18mpg as the more powerful standard engine, but is slightly quicker reaching 60mph in 5.4 seconds, which was reduced even further to 5.2 seconds for the 6.0-litre VXR.
As for insuring them, all the models fall into group 20 and most mainstream insurance companies won’t insure them, so you might end up having to look into specialist insurance offers instead which could prove even more costly.
Like to Drive
The Vauxhall Monaro is by no means a hardcore sports car and it is actually very civilised and refined with supple suspension giving a soft ride, good body control and plenty of grip, but only when the traction control is on. When you turn it off the handling goes out the window as the car slides all over the place. The steering is good and accurate, but the gear changes feel slow with the clutch pedal giving substantial resistance, so you’ll need a strong left leg when driving through town.
It is great to drive, though. The Monaro is always going faster than you think it is and it makes a good long distance cruiser thanks to the relaxed nature of the V8 engines. When you select the sixth gear the odometer only shows 1800rpm, which makes the Monaro unexpectedly economical when cruising. The best bit about it, though, is the sound coming from the V8 engines.
Faults and Repairs
The Monaro is extremely reliable and you shouldn’t expect to have many problems. The only thing to check for before buying a used Vauxhall Monaro is if it has a full service history. Also look for any possible crash damage and ensure that all the switches work. The rear tyres wear quickly and are costly to repair. Tyres will need replacing at least every 10,000 miles.
The services and repairs are fairly cheap, which is good, as they can be carried out at most Vauxhall garages and they charge a lot less than most rivals.