Last Chance To Buy: Vauxhall Vectra

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Indy Lifestyle Online

There is a brand new Vauxhall Vectra on sale right now which is probably getting the nation's fleet car buyers excited. They will still be getting their big discounts and budget-friendly running costs, but what's in it for the rest of us? Well, the slightly different, older Vectra might well be even cheaper, which is nice.

What's good about it?

This is a car built to do its job, which is dash around the country in a comfy manner. Inside it is a proper five seater with a nice big boot. On all models is a CD player, air conditioning and cruise control. That's an impressive standard spec, and if you want climate control and leather then go for an Elite.Build quality is not just solid, but also surprisingly classy. A 'rake and reach' steering column and seat height adjustment means that those motorway miles won't feel so long. It's a safe old bus too with six airbags, including side air curtains, pedal release to stop foot injuries, anti-whiplash head restraints, and a great electrically assisted brake system. There is a good range of engines from economical diesels, a sporty 2.0 turbo and a sophisticated 3.2 V6. Being a company car it's cheap to run with long service intervals and reasonable insurance quotes. It remains a great all-round family car.

What's bad about it?

If resale value is important to you, the Vectra is the wrong car, but the pay-off is a cheap acquisition price. The Ford Mondeo is a better drive, but mostly the Vectra has better equipment levels and is a more relaxing long distance cruiser. The Vectra is not bad, it is just a bit common.

How much?

Getting money off a Vectra has never been a problem. Vauxhall have forgotten all about the old model now, but it is still possible to get a zero per cent finance deal on the special edition models, which is designed to use up old stocks. Brokers have the performance 1.8SRi, normally £16,795, for £13,223, saving £3,571. Certainly it is the pre-registered route which delivers some of the largest savings, especially if the Vectra is up to a year old, with less than 10,000 miles. Trade Sales (08701 222 970) have plenty of choice with 54 registered 1.8 Lifes at £7,499 and a top spec 3.2 V6 Elite Estate automatic at £11,999, which would have cost well over £20,000 new.

Any snags?

Just a couple of very minor recalls in the last few years. In service the Vectra has thrown just a few problems with dashboard electrics. Owners have reported noisy suspensions fixed under warranty.

Fact file

Launched: 2002

Engine: 1.8 litre; 2.0Turbo; 2.2; 3.2 V6; 2.0 DTi; 2.2 DTi

Performance: 1.8 top speed 120 mph 0-60mph 11.3 seconds

Economy: 36.7 mpg

NCAP: Four stars

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