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Road Test

 

Holden Tigra


by Stephen Walker


9th September, 2007

 

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

The tiny Tigra is Holden's endeavour to capture buyers in the ever expanding lifestyle segment of Australia's new car market. This segment is steadily increasing in numbers and it is an excessively important segment for the car makers to compete in because many of the buyers in this segment are seen as good money earners. Therefore, any attempt to gain their favour is seen as a good move as it may secure the buyer's goodwill as their income increases as they progress through various stages of their career. Thus goodwill to the brand will be earned and future sales may be secured. That's how it works in theory. But in reality, success and failure in the automotive industry is determined by product (which includes value for money and experience with the product) together with service (which includes purchase and maintenance experiences) and, more importantly, perception. For example, when was the last time (come to think of it, when was there a time) that you heard some-one say "I can't wait to buy a Hyundai?"

It's that perception that plays in Holden's favour with the Tigra. There are plenty of young professionals that see a tiny convertible in their future. A fun car that plays to the emotions and a fun car that indicates that "I'm not going to drive just any suburban box".

Arriving in style is important to the buyers of lifestyle segment cars. And there is nothing wrong with that. I've never heard anyone say that they are wanting to buy the least attractive car on the market!

With our new car market booming, lifestyle segment buyers have an increasing selection on offer.

For this article, we road test the Holden Tigra. It is based on the European designed Barina (known as Corsa in Europe), which was discontinued locally in favour of a South Korean sourced Barina over a year ago. And, in Europe, a new model Corsa came along earlier this year. It isn't presently known if a new model Tigra is scheduled for Europe's future. The Tigra was the first Holden to feature the now trendy coupe-convertible concept, which has an electrically operated collapsible roof to make the car, effectively, two cars in one (a coupe and a convertible).

The Holden Tigra is currently priced from $34,990 (RRP). Metallic paint is an option for $300.

The test car was coloured an attractive shade of red (see the images), although it is available in three metallic shades (silver, blue and black).

On the road it demonstrated that it's 1.8 litre DOHC engine wasn't the sort of engine that would get too excited. It's more the type of engine that just plods along. It wasn't a poor performer, it just wasn't an exciting performer.

The only transmission choice is a five speed manual. The clutch was quite light and the gear change mechanism was easy to use. It proved that some manuals are light and easy, some may suggest too easy!

Standard equipment is quite good and includes power steering, 4-wheel disc brakes, ABS, 16" alloy wheels (15" steel spare for emergency use), cruise control, Blaupunkt audio system (with MP3 and single disc), 4 airbags, sports seats, power windows and air conditioning.

The interior, whilst not too roomy, wasn't too bad at all for such a tiny car. By the way, this tiny two seater doesn't pretend to have back seats like some in this particular class!

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

At under 4 metres in length, the Tigra was easy to park. In fact, it was easy to drive in all circumstances. The car is light and it handles well with predictable steering and braking. The only problem for me was the cowl shake. Sure, other cars have it, too. But not all convertibles have the dreaded cowl shake. The Audi S4 cabriolet has it, but the Mitsubishi Colt doesn't have it to any noticeable degree (within the speed limit). On that basis, the Holden Tigra is a disappointment.

The Holden Tigra looks good, but that's as far as it goes. The Tigra is not my favourite Holden. It could be and it should be better designed for it's role as a trend setting convertible. Both the Peugeot 207 CC and the brilliant new Mitsubishi Colt cabriolet offer a better drive for similar money. The Tigra has some way to go when compared to these two winners.


Click on any image for a larger view





Other Holden content: here.

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