When the Tigra was launched in 2004, two petrol engines were available. The first is a 1.4-litre with 90bhp which feels underpowered in most situations aside from pottering around town. It takes a leisurely 12 seconds to accelerate from 0-60mph and has to be revved hard to get near anything resembling decent performance. On the plus side it's economical with an average of 46mpg.
The other engine is a 1.8-litre with a more useful 125bhp which drops the 0-60mph time to 9 seconds. This serves up enough pace to make it mildly entertaining but it's still far from sporty. A 1.3 CDTi diesel was introduced in early 2005 which returns an impressive 61mpg but it's pretty woeful in the Tigra and is lacklustre with little punch. This is evident in its poor 0-60mph time of 15 seconds.
The Tigra is actually based on the 2000 Corsa which means it's easy to drive but offers few thrills. It turns into corners quickly and feels more than happy at motorway speeds with good ride quality. However, the overly light steering means there's little sense of involvement and it's competent rather than exciting. With the roof down the Tigra still feels pretty stiff and the body doesn't flex too much in everyday driving.
With a cabin lifted from the 2000 Corsa, the Tigra looks dated and bland. The controls are well laid out but there's no feeling of style and it lacks the panache you'd expect in a small convertible like this. Worse still, there's no reach adjustment on the steering column which means taller drivers can struggle to find a comfortable driving position plus the seats are narrow and too firm.
Unlike alternatives such as the Peugeot 207 CC, the Tigra is a two-seater. But the plus side is that there's decent room for both passengers and even taller drivers will find it roomy enough. The ride quality is good too, which means long journeys aren't tiring, while with the roof down, buffeting from wind isn't too bad. However, the electric roof isn't totally automatic - you have to release two catches first before the top lowers.
Of course, the benefit of a metal roof over a fabric hood is not only security but also a warmer cabin on cold winter mornings.