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SSSSSHHHHHH don't tell them - its sooooo much fun

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  • SSSSSHHHHHH don't tell them - its sooooo much fun

    SSSSSHHHHHH don't tell them - its sooooo much fun.
    Got hold of a Meriva VXR last Friday and I just could not put it down. I found every country lane I could and just drove and drove and drove. Actually if I had bought the car I would have run it in within 3 days. This little car is so well put together its like a good book that you'll want to read over and over again. Every turn of the page just puts a grin on your face.
    Last Friday Brian Richards, of Greens of Rainham, handed over the keys to their Meriva VXR.
    The car was in Black and completely standard. The interior is appointed as you would expect from the VXR range. The Recaro seats are specific to the Meriva being similar to the Astra/Zafira. Headrests are different and there is only the height adjustment, lumbar , fore and aft movement. I was a little disappointed in the width of the seat as I felt I was a little crammed in, but I did get accustomed to it as the days went on. No space is lost for the rear seat folks even with the Recaro's. As you would expect, the carbon fiber effect is on the door and dash and the dials spin their way around the clocks when turning the key. When firing up, the engine settles to whisper mode, hardly heard from the very well insulated cabin.
    Standard equipment indulges in all the goodies: height adjustable steering, electric windows all round, a/c, alarm, etc etc etc............oh and good comfortable seating for 5 with space to pile all the shopping in.
    As I drove to the forecourt exit it was apparent that the car was going to deliver. Even as I touched the brakes made it very clear that this car had some stopping power and it was going to should about it.
    Pulling away, the throttle was lively but not aggressive. The power was delivered with a spirited attitude but without being aggressive. Progress down the road was delivered with finesse and poise, getting to the legal speed limits without giving any hint of being hard work. This was giving the impression of being a smaller Zafira but with no lose of build quality or solid feel.
    After a few miles of having settled into the seats an opportunity was taken to open the car up. The exhaust note gave a determined growl, not quiet V6 but it let you know it was there. What was impressive is that at no time did the engine sound give the impression it was running out of breath. OK this was not the fastest VXR in the range but it did it with such ease that it started to make it feel like it was the easiest VXR to drive. Make no mistake this car is quick; it will drive to the legal limit and just keep on going. However when it came to the twisty bits that became a different matter.
    It’s the twisty bits where the surprise is lying under the skin. Pitching the car into a corner just drops your mouth as if you are trying to catch flies. The body role is so well contained you start thinking you are driving a small hot hatch. Poise in corning was excellent with direction changes being achieved with minimal fuss. You point the car to where it's to go and it seems to be able to know where you want it. Unlike a Zafira SRi I drove recently, where you seem to need to turn in more than you thought you would need too, the Meriva just settled into the corner and stuck there on the line you selected. Alter your line mid corner and the car is there as if you had never changed your mind.
    The suspension is so good that exiting roundabouts with full throttle will be dealt with such ease that even a keen and faster car behind will be shown a clean pair of heels for a short time.
    Braking from those progressive speeds never hinted in fade and the pedal felt firm time after time.
    The car is such a hoot to drive you will go back to it time and time again. It’s so easy to drive quickly, so easy to drive slowly as an all round package it has to score high on the list.
    So where do I score it:
    Performance 8 out of 10,
    handling 9 out of 10,
    Fun factor a big 10 out of 10.
    So MR H and Mr. McC, a well sorted VXR for me, just give it a 25bhp increase for 2007 and your there.
    Many thanks to Brian from Greens for loaning me the car, it was well present and sorry for the miles, Ijust could not get out of it.

  • #2
    Sold the thing within 30 mins of you dropping it off!!!!
    Will have to seek less fun elsewhere for a while. Still Astra VXR due in few weeks, may get it to VXR PC for some tweeks!!!
    Great write up.
    Insignia VXR, quite nippy!


    • #3
      Great right up Mark. Your making my wait seem even longer now!