PH BUYING GUIDE: VAUXHALL VX220
'Vauxhall's Elise' is a great car in its own right. Here's all you need to know
Vauxhall also opted for 17-inch alloy wheels all round to give the VX a bit more presence, while Lotus stuck with 16-inch front wheels as it reckoned they improved handling balance. Either way, the VX impressed with its dynamic ability, helped by purpose-designed Bridgestone tyres. Other key changes were the Vauxhall's anti-lock brakes as standard and a driver's airbag, which the Elise did without.
Vauxhall then added the VX220 Turbo in 2003 with another engine from the Astra range. This iron-blocked motor gave 200hp but upped the overall weight of the car to 930kg. Still, the VX Turbo fires off 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds and hits 151mph, which earned it a supercar-humbling reputation.
Lotus turned out a total of 5,267 VX220s and 1,940 Turbos by the time production ended in 2005, but that didn't stop Vauxhall adding one last VX hurrah in 2004 with the VXR220. This lightened, more powerful model used the Turbo as a base but with a modified ECU to increase power to 220hp. Along with optional Ohlins suspension and Lotus-aping 16-inch front wheels plus Yokohama tyres, it was the ultimate VX220 and could cover 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds. Only 65 VXR220s were made, so it's a rarity today and you'll likely pay around £20,000 for a well cared for example. Much more affordable is the original normally aspirated VX that starts from around £6,000, while a Turbo will cost from the £9,000 mark.
"If you can live with the downsides then you're guaranteed miles of smiles and lots of admiring looks."