Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Cheap to buy
- Inexpensive to maintain
- Fuel-efficient engines
- Dull interior
- Still suffers from reliability issues
The 2nd generation Vectra made its debut in 1995 upgrading the 1st Generation Opel Vectra in the continent and bringing it to the UK, replacing the Cavalier. They realised it was a bad idea to keep the name 'Cavalier' in the UK when the 1st generation car was introduced in 1988 and failed to reach its potential sales figures. The first Vectra was actually a good car.
Exterior and Interior
The early 90s saw the design traditions of Opel/Vauxhall resurrected. During the previous decades they didn't excel with inspiring designs and the new Vectra was a valid attempt at improving the image of the company. The exterior of the 2nd generation Vectra is rather pleasing ‐ its unique aerodynamic mirrors and the vedge-shaped body leaves an impression of a sporty car. It clearly isn't one, but the quirky design features make the car more agreeable.
The interior isn't very exciting but is an improvement from the point of quality. The materials used are not top-notch, but that's clearly done to keep the production costs as low as possible and in everyday use this lack of finesse shouldn't bother the driver too much. After all the Vectra is a utilitarian car and the interior matches its work-horse image.Although the Vectra can seat 5 adults, the passengers at the rear will feel the squeeze. Its rear seats are not recommended for tall passengers. The situation is slightly better in the estate version because the roofline above the passengers' heads is slightly higher. The estate version, called Vectra Caravan, is a model of choice for many people, mainly because of its versatile boot space ‐ with folded seats it offers 1490litres.
It's advisable to go for a post-1999 Vectra, not only those are more mechanically sound, the slight facelift came with improved interior quality and some extra kit that wasn't previously available ‐ for example, adjustable steering column.
Performance and Economy
A Vectra diesel is a popular choice, but considering that mileage-wise there's very little between them, it's better to choose the 2.2-litre diesel offering 44mpg. The 1.7-litre and 2.0-litre versions can manage 47 and 46mpg respectively, but the engines are characterless and underpowered.
From the petrol versions, there's no reason why one would be unhappy with the 1.8-litre engine. If driven carefully, it can achieve 39mpg. On the other end of the scale there's the 2.5-litre V6 monster. It's fuel consumption is around 28mpg, but the engine is very capable. It accelerates the car from 0 to 60mph in less than 8 seconds and can reach a maximum speed of 143mph. The other question is whether you really need something that in effect is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Overall the Vectra is considered an economical car and it is certainly a good choice if you just want to save some money.
Like to Drive
The faster you go the smoother it drives. This is not, of course, an encouragement to exceed speed limits, just an observation that in normal everyday speeds, the Vectra will feel rough and hard. It is built on the same platform as the first generation of Vectra and although the body and interior is all new, it still feels pretty much the same. Unless it's the V6, the car is not exciting to drive. The engines provide decent dynamics but they do lack character.
Faults and Repairs
The suspension remained almost unchanged from the previous generation is still suffering from the same ailments. It is rather stiff and it will develop failures if the car is excessively used in urban traffic. Suspension parts may have to be replaced, but doing so is not going to break the bank. Repairing the Vectra is normally a cheap job. There are so many around and they're so similar to the older Vauxhall cars that every mechanic should feel at home when working on one of those.Other typical issues include electric system failures and excessive rust. If not treated instantly, the car can still rot away as quickly as the infamous old Vauxhalls. Usually, it's a good idea to avoid highly kitted Vauxhalls. The simpler the car the better it will be in everyday use.