A history lesson…
1995 dawned a new era for Vauxhall with the Vectra. It’s been an up-and-down ride for the Vectra, having gone through several incarnations to try and perfect the design – each time failing. And that’s why Vauxhall decided to ditch the name and introduce us to the Insignia – which is lovely.
The most modern Vectra – the model from 2005-2008 – is the best of the lot, but it’s still far from perfect. It’s a car designed for reps, saloon-drivers and those who don’t appreciate the technical dynamics of a car.
The VXR model was stupid. Packed with over 250 horses and yet still left with front-wheel-drive, the sporty variant of the range was just dreadful. Sure, it was quick, but show it a corner and you’ll be enjoying about a million miles of understeer and subsequent death, probably.
Bang for your buck
Thanks to the Vectra’s dodgy reputation, they are now extremely cheap on the used car market. You can get top-of-the-range models for bargain prices, and they really do, despite being anything but a praised car, represent good value for money.
You get the lot: air-con, climate control, traction control, ABS, CD-player, and they are all usable and understandable. The Vectra is just a car. There’s no passion, no soul, but if all you want is a car that is a car, with no fuss or adrenaline then the Vectra is a good buy.
What you’ll pay
Vectras on a 55 plate with a 1.8-litre petrol engine are going for around £3,500, which represents a good value buy for those who want a saloon car on a budget. VXR models are demanding more of a premium, but even those fire-breathing, dreadful handling models are less than £7/8k.
What to check
No real faults have been reported on the newer Vectra, thanks to General Motors’ ability to create basic parts very well. So nothing too much to worry about here.
A full exhaust for the Vauxhall Vectra retail for around £275, while a full clutch assembly will be around £80, and brake pad sets will be just under £20.
How it drives
As said in the aforementioned segments, the Vectra is not a car for the drivers out there. It’s a car that is boring, uninspiring and very mundane. Even the VXR has its faults, like rubbish handling coupled with a high price. That model is very quick, but it’s more in a muscle car way than typical European way. Expect lots of understeer in the bends.
Inside, the Vectra isn’t too bad. The boot is very respectable and while the interior is God-awful, it is all put together pretty well and isn’t that offensive. It’s just that everything in the Vectra seems ordinary. There’s no real wow factor that we look for in a saloon car, and that’s probably why Vauxhall decided to drop it for the much-better and impressive Insignia, which does handle properly and can thrill a family of four in comfort and driving ability.