When's it going?

Would you believe that the last Omega came off the production line in March 2003? Probably not, because there are so many of the cars around. But it has been replaced by an extra-long Vectra in the stretched-limo shape of the Signum, which is itself a cheaper and classier Mercedes Maybach.

What's good about it?

Launched in April 1994, the Vauxhall Omega made its occupants comfy with lots of room and excellent supportive seating. The massive estate version was practical, with a long and flat cargo area. The Omega also delivered a superb ride, being smooth and refined and handling sharply, considering its size. Under the bonnet there were some half-decent units, from the capable 2.0 and 2.2 petrols to thepunchy V6s and a BMW turbo diesel. The plastic CDX badge promised cruise, electric rear-screen blind and a six-stack CD, while the Elite had leather, a memory driver's seat, headlamp washers and, from October 1997, in-car navigation. Plus, the estate model is absolutely huge. Yes the Omega has everything, except the right badge.

What's bad about it?

That badge. The little griffin could never compete with BMW's propeller blades, Mercedes's rising star and Audi's rings of confidence. Unlike the previous and closely related Carlton, there was no halo model like the Lotus to give the Omega a lift, although there was the MV6. It may have had sports seats, 17in alloys, traction control and carbon fibre-effect trim, but, like the Elite, it only had an identical 208bhp; the top speed was just short of 150mph. Even a 3.2-litre, 213bhp upgrade in January 2001 was never going to worry Mercedes AMG or BMW's Motorsport.

How much?

Finding a new Omega isn't easy. A call to Autobytel (0800 7831514) located three. Only two petrol saloons and an estate were available. The savings were also disappointing as a £19,690 GLS was reduced by just £759 to £18,931.

Any snags?

The Omega was always well built and had to be reliable to survive. It is a heavy car; suspension and brakes often need an overhaul when the miles build up.

FACT FILE

Launched: 1994

Engine: 2.0 DTI; 2.0I 16V; 2.0 8V; 2.2 16V; 2.5TD; 2.5 V6; 2.6 V6; 3.0 V6; 3.2 V6

Performance: 2.2i 0 to 60mph 10.4 seconds 130mph

Economy: 2.2 V6 30mpg

NCAP safety: Standard ABS, side airbags on later version

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