The Vauxhall Omega was introduced in 1994 as a replacement to the 1st generation Omega. It is classified as an executive car and comes with a rich level of equipment and highly comfortable seats. It is the last of the big Vauxhalls, no replacement was offered after it was finally decided to take the car off the production line in 2003.
Although it is often called ’the big Vauxhall’, the Omega is one of those cars that looks bigger than they actually are. It is surprising, but the Omega is shorter than a Mercedes-Benz E-Class - its wheelbase is 4 inches shorter. Nevertheless they’ve managed to pack in a very comfortable cabin and a class-leading boot compartment at 530 litres (10 litres more than the E-Class). With folded seats this executive car offers 830 litres of boot space; the estate version of the Omega can provide a maximum of 1800 litres of cargo space.
It is an early design but they’ve achieved a distinctive elegant look and through a sequence of small facelifts, the car had remained fresh for almost 10 years while on the production line.
The Elite trim offers the highest level of equipment. It is adorned in leather and wood, and with the large V6 petrol engine transforming the Omega into the ultimate executive sedan.
The car is not available with anything smaller than a 2.0-litre 134bhp engine. The basic engine is followed by 2.2-litre 141bhp, 2.5-litre V6 167bhp, 2.6-litre V6 176bhp, 3.0-litre V6 207bhp and 3.2-litre V6 213bhp petrol engines.
Three diesels are available: 2.0-litre 98bhp, 2.2-litre 118bhp and 2.5-litre 128bhp.
For those who are looking for a cheap executive car, the 2.2-litre diesel will be the best choice. It’s only slightly less powerful than the big 2.5-litre diesel, but a 39mpg full-size car is a very good return.
Apart from the smaller diesel engine, whichever powerplant you are going to choose, will deliver good performance. Even the basic 2.0-litre petrol engine can give the car a good character. A petrol Omega is just not economical, the smallest engine can deliver around 30mpg, the 2.2-lite unit just 28mpg. The larger V6 engines deliver a sublime performance, they’re quick and revvy, but the mileage will be in the region of 23 – 25mpg.
It’s a very comfortable and smooth car. It comes with an advanced suspension that feels much better than on smaller Vauxhalls. It handles effortlessly and offers a pleasing and refreshing driving experience.
An entirely different story is the MV6 modification that was offered with one of the V6 petrol engines. Forget everything they say about tuned Vauxhalls. This one is factory-tuned and it’s an amazing car. It features a stiffer sport suspension to support the feeling of driving a serious sports car. Ok, the index ’M’ doesn’t turn the Vauxhall Omega into a BMW ’M’ but it is pretty close, and for the price difference, you shouldn’t really complain.
It’s a large and heavy rear-wheel drive car and it is massively old-school. With its solid and smooth behaviour, it feels like driving a classic car with a modern body.
Unfortunately, the ghost of Carlton (the pre-Omega large Vauxhall) was still haunting the executive stables of the Vauxhall’s factory well into the 2000s. During the years much was done to eradicate the main faults and especially after the final facelift, the car was brought up to a good standard.
What sets the Omega apart from other Vauxhalls is that it is more expensive to repair. Petrol engines suffer from a weak idle valve. Also, the engines are susceptible to more significant faults, but that is largely a game of luck. The overall reliability is good, although not as good as the E-Class Mercedes can offer.
Small niggles affect the bodywork and interior, the sunroof is likely to start leaking, some interior parts can come loose. When buying a used Vauxhall Omega, it is important to check the suspension.
© 2013 WhichDeal Ltd