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Vauxhall Signum Design 2.2 Direct

Vauxhall

Review

EVEN some of the good folk at Vauxhall get a bit shuffle-footed when you ask them what the Signum is supposed to be.

Breaking quite a few of the rules of engagement in fleet marketing terms, it simply refuses to reveal the point, and anybody who has driven the laudable Vectra must be even more bemused.

The Vectra already has an estate (a good one, too, and based on a Signum platform) so it's not one of those. It has very wide rear doors and wannabe limo seats, but it isn't a limo. It's smooth and cruisy, but it's not a repmobile.

It's a real puzzler. This is my first crack at our long-term Signum, and in the past 500 miles there hasn't been any sign of the dashboard warning light shenanigans which blotted the copybook last month.

Like the Vectra it rides sublimely and cruises in absolute silence, and mid-range punch comes enthusiastically when you need to drop cogs in the cause of overtaking.

But fling it into a corner and you find out what else the Signum isn't – it's not a taut-handling car. Understeer, tyre scrabble, lack of feedback through the steering – it's all there. I tried it only once.

For all the Signum's merits as a well-built, well-mannered piece of work, it so badly lacks personality that you could mistake it for John Major in one of his greyer moods. That, coupled with a thirsty nature that makes 30mpg a touch-and-go affair, puts it firmly into the 'why have?' bracket.

Let's just hope our electrical problems don't resurface – there wouldn't be any more straws left after that.

Mileage - 13,332

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

Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles

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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