Fleet News

Vauxhall Signum Design 2.2 Direct



THE Vauxhall Signum does everything it should do and has everything it should have for a car of its price (£19,465 in this case). It's both smooth and gutsy and boasts most of the trimmings you could hope for, as well as extras like sat-nav and leather seats.

So why, after a week's driving, am I so unmoved by it? Shouldn't I be happy that it does its job in such an effortless, uncomplaining way?

I'm not surprised at the fact that Vauxhall is expecting three-quarters of its projected 6,000 annual Signum sales to come from fleets. The Signum is just not the sort of car anyone would get worked up about – favourably or otherwise. And that fact makes it unlikely that it would instil enough enthusiasm in anyone to justify parting with their own hard-earned cash.

For a start, it could be said to be suffering from something of an identity crisis – it isn't quite sure whether it wants to be a saloon, a hatchback or an estate, which makes it look a bit like a hotchpotch of all three.

That means it suffers by being a bit too long for nifty manoeuvring, particularly inconvenient as there is limited rearward visibility and no rear parking sensor, without having the load capacity of an estate because of the sloping roof.

I haven't needed to carry more than one passenger yet so haven't tried out the unusual arrangement in the back, where there are reclining seats, but only for two people. In a car this size, that could be a minus factor for some potential buyers.

On the plus side, my family reckons the satellite navigation system is the best they've come across – and they have made it their business to thoroughly investigate the set-ups in every car I've tested.

Incidentally, it's hard to believe there was a time – quite recently, too – when I could quite happily have made do with a map and a compass to find my way about the country.

Now I feel lost – literally – without a little screen and the well-modulated tones of a helpful woman to guide me to my chosen destination.

And there has been no word on the long-awaited replacement dashboard panel, apparently necessary to solve the long-term problem of an intermittent low-battery warning light. The Signum spent two weeks in the garage awaiting delivery of the part before we asked for it back. Since then, we've heard nothing.

Company car tax bill 2004/05 (40% tax-payer): £138 per month

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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