Vauxhall Vectra Saloon 1999 - 2002

Vauxhall Vectra Saloon 1999 - 2002

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Cheap to buy
  • Inexpensive to maintain
  • Fuel-efficient engines

Cons:

  • Dull interior
  • Still suffers from reliability issues

Overview

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.


Overall Rating:
Review by Glen
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"Terrible...but was proved wrong"

Exterior and Interior

We ended up with this car as our preferred much prettier car had big problems and we were offered this as a stop gap. Ok, we both stuck our noses up at it (I remember the Clarkson review) and I agreed with him. It was a boring box. It was a Vauxhall. Could it get worse? Well, actually, grudgingly we have to admit we got it wrong. The car ignored our dislike, and just carried on being a car. And a reliable, well built car. Believe it or not. Okay, it was never going to compete with the E-type, but it did have a bit of style to it and compared very well to hideous monstrosities like the Fiat Multipla and anything Smart has produced. It wasn't bad; it does grow on you. Also, it was sensibly designed. The right bits that normally rust are made of plastic. The things that need to be metal to make it solid, are. The interior is child-proof, and remained in quite good order and easily cleaned with the magic of wet-wipes. Bits don't break off it, despite misuse from girls, and more testingly, some of their friends. We ended up holding on to the car long term, and haven't found anything better to replace it.

Performance and Economy

In the real world, do we really care about performance and economy figures? Do we really understand them? Of course not. What we need to know is that if we have to floor it to get past that annoying caravan we have been stuck behind for the last 40 miles, it pulls us past quickly without lots of praying the car coming in the other direction is in slow mode. Also, we don't want to have that feeling we are visiting the petrol pump all the time. This little beauty got from Calais all the way down to Bourgos in Northern Spain on one tank, and overtook safely and legally whenever I asked it. Couldn't ask for better. Especially as it is now over 160,000 miles.

Like to Drive

Imagine yourself immersed in the luxuriant leather of an Aston Martin DB7, the engine purring quietly and the feeling of warmth and luxury. The Vauxhall is nothing like that. To be fair though, having hired some of the newer cars lately (especially some of the smaller ones like the SEAT Altea) I couldn't wait to get back to our comfortable old car. The seat can be adjusted to comfort, it has enough power, you are not using the fuel gauge as a rev counter, and you can feel comfortable on a 1300 mile journey. I would know, I have done it. To be fair, I hired an Insignia which replaced the Vectra and was surprised that the Vectra was quieter and more comfortable and the performance was the same. Ok, no modern low profile tyres on the Vectra but some of us out there prefer more rubber and a quieter ride rather than expensive alloys, thin pencils of tyre rubber and hard seats. There's progress for you I suppose. I think we would all prefer and Aston Martin, but in the real world of kids, long journeys, picking up bags of whatever from B and Q, and general driving the Vectra beats it hands down. Though I still cannot believe I am saying that. <

Faults and Repairs

It is old. It has had a hard life. It is going to die. Badly. But then it doesn't. I realise it has done 160,000 miles and every problem I keep thinking 'Ah that's it now, that's blown it.' Then I speak to the garage and they say that it is fixed and that I can come and pick it up. But it can't be! It must have blown up! Wrong. £50 for a leak. £45 for a new pressure valve. And that is not very often. It is not helping our wish to seriously dislike this car if it keeps on going and going and going. It got it's own back though. We spent some time abroad and so needed to open the passenger window to pay tolls and get out of car parks where they drive on the wrong side of the road. So the window mechanism gave up. The drivers side: perfect, the passenger side: no chance. As we precariously reach out of the open door to pay the 50th toll of the day I am sure the car is chuckling to itself..... Apart from that hardly anything goes wrong, and when it does the parts are cheap. And everyone knows how to fix them. DIY is limited then to spending the time trying to get girly chewing gum off the back seat...
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value