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Opel Tigra TwinTop

Broadcast dates : 4th September 2005
10th September 2005


The model names for the Tigra give clues to the carís intended purpose. This is a light-hearted two-seater, with no aspirations towards the hairy-chested end of the sports car market.

"Enjoy" is an expression that has become synonymous with chilling out and letting life take its course. 

As for "Sport", in an automotive context, this has come to mean fun, rather than a serious competitive bent.

Those big taillights have an obvious safety benefit, and they harmonise with the rest of the Tigra styling.

As for the luggage area, itís a class-leading 440 litres Ė 250 litres with the top down Ė and the boot operation is remote from the cockpit Ė which is unnecessarily complicated in our view.

The cabin is neat and crisp with trade-mark Opel styling augmented by a sharp instrument pod and metal trim panels on the drop-down console, and ahead of the gear lever.

The car offers a pleasing mix of light-heartedness and affordable quality, both inside and out.

The vertical folding of the rear section of the steel roof is an excellent piece of design that liberates all that luggage space with the top down. The folding operation is quick and commendably free of the "shikka-shikka-groink-clunk" syndrome.
The short stubby nature of the Tigra Ė itís less than four-metres long Ė makes it a nimble device in traffic and out in the country where you can exploit the carís sporty nature.

Despite a short wheelbase, it has notable suspension compliance.

The big test of a topless car is in the area of chassis rigidity when the topís down. So-called skuttle shake or body flex is at a minimum, thanks in part to a heavy windscreen frame. But, that sloping screen is a bit intrusive for taller drivers.

The suspension is classic low-cost McPherson strut at the front, and torsion beam at the rear. Yet itís equipped with ESP to make it admirably manageable when cornering quickly.

With such a competent chassis, the question arises as to whether the Tigra deserves more power. Our 1,8 litre Sport test model is the top engine option at the moment, and performance is adequate rather than inspiring.

That Ecotec logo indicates the design priorities of the engine, which are economy and low emissions, rather than outright punch. The power and torque outputs are merely middle of the road.

But weíre pleased to note that, like Opel engines of the past, thereís a certain zest in the way it spins up to the redline.

The wheel and tyre sizes are 205 by 16 with 50 series profiles. Grip is not quite in the Z4 league, but the relatively modest sizings add to the carís responsiveness in the twisties.

The transmission is a five-speeder rather than the more fashionable six-speed Ďbox. But for the kind of speeds that are comfortable with the top down, once again this seems like a sensible choice for the Tigra.

Overall, itís a relaxed ride with an edge of crispness that adds up to a satisfying driverís package.

Opel Tigra Twin Top 1,8 Sport
  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol 1 796 cc
  • Power: 92 kW @ 5 600 rpm
  • Torque: 170 Nm @ 3 800 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h 9,4 seconds
  • Top speed: 204 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 7,7 litres/100 km (Manufacturerís claimed figures)
  • Price: R233 880

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