Vauxhall Vectra car review
Saturday 20 January 2007
Ten Point Test
Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 76%
The Vauxhall Vectra is a British institution, and one of the most common sights on our roads.
But as a popular choice for fleets, many owners drive a Vectra out of obligation not choice. We drive one for a week, all over the UK, and decide if the venerable Vauxhall provides a good deal and stacks up against tough competition for the private buyer.
1. Looks 6/10
The latest Vauxhall Vectra was introduced in 2002 and facelifted in 2005 and is now starting to show its age. This is a car designed to be practical and functional and with so many around it simply fades into the background. If you are after admiring glances this is no Alfa Romeo, but there are attractive pearlescent paints, body kits and alloy wheels available as optional extras if you want to add desirability.
2. Looks inside 6/10
It is by no means ugly inside, but like the exterior, it won’t raise the pulse. What you do get is a sense the Vauxhall Vectra will look the same years after you buy it, regardless of muddy boots or slobbering dogs. The materials on show are high quality and feel tough. The seats are very comfortable and the armrest is in just the right place for relaxed motorway driving. While the dash is simple and attractive, the stereo lets the side down with its myriad of fiddly buttons.
3. Practicality 9/10
The Vauxhall Vectra is a large car and can seat five, although we found it suits four adults the best. The boot is a massive 500-litres and the right shape for suitcases and large bags. The glovebox has lots of room for odds and ends, as does the storage bin inside the central armrest. There is a handy space just behind the handbrake lever which is perfect for a mobile phone or sunglasses.
4. Ride and Handling 9/10
Vauxhall has done a great job of tailoring the Vectra’s ride and handling to its customers needs. It is easy to drive, making you feel at home, and immediately impressing with its hushed ride. The Vectra soothes away the miles, soaking up bumps which you will never feel through the precise steering. Over all but the roughest roads the car remains so quiet you can whisper to your passengers. We drove the Vectra for over 500 miles and it never felt out of sync with the road, even on a flooded M6 motorway in atrocious rain storms it remained as steady as a rock. While it is comfortable and refined, it is not as dynamic as the Ford Mondeo and may not appeal to the driving enthusiast as a result.
5. Performance 8/10
Our Vauxhall Vectra 1.9-litre CDTi 120bhp engine is one of the best sellers and we can see why – it offers decent pace and economy. The engine’s pulling power gives it plenty of grunt and its 10.5 second sprint from 0-60mph and 124mph top speed are fine for everyday driving. The Vectra we tested sat at the national speed limit in sixth gear with little effort, and returned around 50mpg in the process. The petrol engine range spans over 1.8, 2, 2.2 and a 2.8-litre V6 with power from 120bhp to 276bhp in the storming Vectra VXR sports edition.
6. Running Costs 7/10
Due to the Vauxhall Vectra’s popularity as a fleet car, the biggest hit to running costs is its poor depreciation. It can be expected to retain between 30 and 37 per cent of its value after three years. It is cheap to run, however with good fuel economy from 26mpg to 49.5mpg from the worst petrol to the best diesel. Company car tax is on a par with its competitors, spanning tax bands D to G. Thanks to the quantity of Vectras built, parts are widespread, bringing costs down.
7. Reliability 9/10
General Motors, which owns Vauxhall, test their cars to destruction and a car like the Vectra has been subject to a thorough development process. This can be seen in its reliability so far, with few problems reported.
8. Safety 7/10
Every Vauxhall Vectra comes with six airbags as standard, including side curtains, and the head restraints are designed to lessen whiplash injuries. Euro NCAP awarded it with four stars for adult safety, which is reasonable but has been bettered by competitors in its class. All cars have advanced anti lock braking to help prevent skids.
9. Equipment 7/10
Basic Vauxhall Vectra’s get air conditioning, a CD player, cruise control, remote control central locking and electric windows as standard. Life models have steel wheels with alloy wheel-look hubcaps while all other models benefit from alloy wheels. Our test car had excellent adaptive front lighting, with the headlight beam turning into corners providing better illumination of the road ahead – an £850 optional extra.
10. X-Factor 8/10
The Vauxhall Vectra has a ride and level of refinement which competes with the best cars in its class. It is a practical car which shouldn’t let you down as you effortlessly cover mile after mile. It doesn’t have class leading looks and dynamic handling, but for the majority of customers it won’t matter.
Model tested: Vauxhall Vectra 1.9 CDTi 120 Design
On the road price: £19,410
Price range: £14,885 – £24,505
Date tested: January 2007
Road tester: Andy Goodwin