So you may have seen I spent today in Luton as I attended Vauxhall’s Heritage Centre to drive some of its cars from yesteryear. If you’ve not seen the article, that can be found here. The brand also had a fair few of its current models there, so I was able to give them a short drive as well. Let’s start with the good stuff shall we?
The Soundtrack To End All Soundtracks
After driving the Astra VXR Nurburgring and the Lotus Carlton I thought the day couldn’t get much better, but boy I was wrong. The third car I stepped in to was the Vauxhall Maloo, car that’s known as a ‘Ute’. It’s a term from Australia and New Zealand and it’s short for ‘utility. You see this is a commercial vehicle, the fastest in the world in fact. 537bhp is offered from a 6.2 litre supercharged V8 engine as well as 671Nm of torque. That’s bonza mate!
The performance figures are pretty brisk to say the least – 0-60 comes in 4.5 seconds and the top speed is 155mph. So it’s about the same kind of power as you’d get from a BMW M4 and with a price starting around £52,000, it’s not too far off the price of the Beemer. There is one problem though, there are only two seats, but don’t forget this is a commercial vehicle, so it’s decided to carry supplies/equipment rather than passengers.
Which is a bit of shame as it means only two can enjoy that simply wonderful engine note. Push the start button and the V8 howls like a wolf that has been woken abruptly. Rev the car even more and you are greeted with even more noise as well as a few crackles and bangs from the exhaust. This car is certainly not a shrinking violet and just moving it out of a parking bay is bound to get some attention. If you’re the shy, withdrawn type then you need not apply. This is not for the faint-hearted.
***My Vauxhall Maloo video can now be found here***
Finding a good position was easy and the deep, well padded seats were comfortable enough although they were firm so Im not sure how suitable this would be for long journeys. Getting the car out on to the road and I find the six-speed manual gearbox has a short and precise throw although I was expecting a bit more weight from the steering. Cruising down the M1 I found the car was docile and quieter than you may expect but having said that, you’ll want to rev the car as much as possible as it’s so raw, exciting and addictive.
This car handles well but it can become playful quite easily, especially on the damp, greasy roads of Luton. That’s not to say it’s a handful because it isn’t, but drive like a hooligan and you can expect the back to slide out rather easily. I imagine this car would be a complete riot on a race track although I think you’ll spend more time sideways than forward.
All-in-all I had an absolute blast in the car but could I imagine myself paying around £52,000 for it? Hmm I think I’d rather save up and get an M4 thank you every much. Not that I have that money to spend….
Mokka To Go Please
The light was running out and the day was entering its latter stages but after I dropped the Maloo off I had some free time left over. I therefore decided to jump in a Mokka X fitted with the 1.4 turbocharged engine producing 138bhp mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. This was only a 10 minute drive so this won’t be a comprehensive review. In fact I’m only going to really give my first impressions.
The driving position is good and the seats are comfortable with a good level of support. The interior is a pretty nice place to be although it’s not likely to ‘wow’ you. I doubt the performance will wow you either; I found the Mokka X had to be worked a bit to make progress although it did ride well. I had no complaints with the steering and the gearbox was fine enough, which is just as well as I found it needed to be worked a fair bit to eek out any performance from the 1.4 litre petrol unit.
In summary I think this Mokka needs a bit more coffee…
Adam Has Identity Crisis
By the time I had brought the Mokka X back to Vauxhall’s base it was dark, but there was time for one more drive, this time in the Adam Rocks S. Yeah, I know, the name is a bit silly but I found the Adam Rock S to be an enjoyable car despite not really being to decide what kind of car it is. Is it a citycar? Is it a compact crossover? Is it a hot hatch? Is it a convertible?
The reason why this questions are asked is because it has the dimensions of a city car but with rugged plastic panelling, a retractable fabric roof and some half decent performance figures. Like the Mokka X, the Adam is fitted with a 1.4 turbocharged engine, only this one is able to offer 148bhp. 0-62 comes in a respectable 8.5 seconds and the top speed clocks in at 130mph.
So it’s not that far from hot hatch performance, well, warm hatch performance. It makes a good noise as well, it makes a deep grumble that I truly wasn’t expecting and it sounds great. You can hear it more by retracting the fabric roof which was a nice addition as it allowed the twilight seep in to the car, thus making it feel more spacious. This won’t help those in the back though, the Recaro front seats are a wonderful addition but the space in the rear is at a premium and a tall person will feel out of place in the back of the Adam.
The car handled pretty well too and I found it to be a fun, likeable car. It’s snazzy and funky with it’s youthful, happy-go-lucky appearance. However, with a price of around £20,000 I’d find it hard to recommend the Adams Rock S as I feel that is too expensive for what it is, especially as it’s not sure exactly what it is.