From £43,2457
Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

At 4.9m long, the Vauxhall VXR8 is a big car10cm longer than a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class – so it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of cabin space. So much so that with the driver’s seat set all the way back, a six-footer would struggle to drive the car, and yet there’s still room behind for the same adult to sit comfortably.

The rear has a fixed bench with space for three and adequate support for all. This, and the cavernous 496-litre boot, should help justify the VXR8 as transport for the family man with a big enough wallet for the fuel bills.

When released, handbrake fits flush with console. Slick, and free of the finger-trapping problems of the Saab 9-3

Other than the offset pedals, the driving position is excellent. The VXR-branded, half-leather seats are electrically adjustable in eight directions, and the steering column for reach and rake.

Equipment is generous. Dual-zone climate control, a CD changer, automatic wipers and lights and parking sensors are standard. The optional sat-nav is better than on other Vauxhalls, even if the graphics don’t match those of premium rivals.

The VXR8 is a major step forward in quality over the Monaro, and we could happily live with its cabin, but in material quality and construction rigour the Vauxhall still lags behind the equivalently priced, if slower, BMW 335i and Audi S4.

Our biggest concern is the VXR8’s poor visibility. Thick A-pillars restrict the view at junctions, the spoiler interrupts the rear view and the tiny side mirrors create a huge blind spot.

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