I returned to Autocar HQ today after a weekend spent driving the brilliant Vauxhall VXR8 Maloo. If you’re not familiar with the car (sorry, pick-up), it’s a 425bhp, V8 monster which is visible from space. Almost.
It’s also one of the quickest, definitely the thirstiest and the most conspicuous vehicle I’ve ever driven. Naturally I was under the impression that every other road user would hate me instantly.
How wrong I was. People loved it. Not only that, but other motorists let me out of junctions more readily, smiled when they saw it and gave me the thumbs up as I pulled up alongside them.
Even a petrol attendant (yes, they’re back apparently) made a beeline for me when I pulled into the station and insisted he fill the tank. Incidentally, £40 (around half full) gets you about 135 miles when driven gingerly on the motorway.
What really got me was how many other exotic cars the Maloo attracted. Take Friday evening for example. I pulled up next to a bloke in a Vauxhall VXR8; we smiled, swapped engine notes and went on our way.
Then Saturday. As I parked on a street in the middle of Bedford to examine a Hyundai Coupe for a friend (he bought the car in the end) this 24-year old Ferrari Mondial parked up right behind. The pair couldn’t have looked more out of place even if they were on fire…
Needless to say, my weekend in the Maloo was an absolute honour. Okay, visibility is appalling, fuel consumption diabolical and manoeuvring difficult, but what other vehicles can you think of that will pull away from the lights in fourth gear, hit 62mph in 4.9sec and put smiles on the faces of so many other motorists?