The chassis and suspension cope adequately well with the extra demands placed on them by the heavy hybrid powertrain and its four-wheel-drive layout. The car’s mass is probably a slightly less obstructive barrier to the palatability of the driving experience, then, than the apparent complexity of the propulsion system is to the enjoyment of it. But this Vauxhall is still a long way short of where it would need to be, in terms of handling precision, body control and all-round dynamic deportment, to convince as a driver’s car even of the vaguest kind.

A light, medium-paced steering rack does at least cover for the car’s sheer heft, and it effectively filters out most of the traction forces that impact, at various unpredictable times, on the front axle. The car’s springing feels medium firm and makes for a ride that’s comfortable enough, albeit slightly stiff-legged, around town, getting noisier and more fidgety on the motorway but neither objectionably so.

Fleet drivers may be one thing – but as a private buyer with a £45,000 budget, there’s absolutely no way I’d be happy with the cabin quality, on-board technology or passenger space on offer here.

Lateral body control remains adequate in outright terms as you pick up speed on a country road, but the way the car tackles both faster sweeping bends and tighter corners makes you very aware that it has a high centre of gravity and plenty of weight carried outside of its wheelbase. It rolls quite suddenly and a little alarmingly onto its outside wheels (albeit not to any lurid angle) and then leans on its traction control like a crutch as you try to accelerate away from the apex.

Back to top

Both tendencies make it clear that more could have been done to prepare this car for the extra weight and speed that come associated with its powertrain – and neither honestly inspires you to maintain an enthusiastic pace once you’ve experimented with one.