road test

Vauxhall Vectra

Does the new Vauxhall Vectra look any different from the Vauxhall Cavalier? You'd be forgiven for thinking not. Most people simply wouldn't spot the difference. Its door mirrors constitute the sole stylistic flourish, blending so effectively into the bodywork that they appear to have spouted from it. That, however, is it. But Vauxhall knows that people will not buy the Vectra to make a style statement. They want a convenient car, and that's just what this Vauxhall is.

Leaving aside the fact that its driving position leaves too little room between thigh and wheel rim (an error Vauxhall is racing to correct), the interior of a Vectra is very pleasant - airy, comfortable and particularly thoughtfully designed. You will, for instance, find a device to carry a pair of opened Coke cans in the centre console, and another drinks holder beneath an armrest bridging the front seats. You will find plenty of places to put things, easily manipulated controls, a crisp, powerful stereo and much else. Just as pleasing is that the Vectra is well mannered, something you could not say of its predecessor. The Cavalier just didn't get along with bumpy roads, which would have it bucking and jerking as if it were made for a different road network. Couple this with an awkward gear change, a clutch that made smooth progress a hard-won goal and engines that tended towards the coarse, and you had a car that felt cruder than it really was. The new Vectra sees all these problems fixed, and the Cavalier's strong points - sound performance, fair economy, good roadholding, robust construction - firmly built upon.

Pounding the motorway is likely to be the Vectra's most frequent task, for this is the quintessential company car. That it will often be passenger- less is just as well because the interior is not as spacious as it should be. The Renault Laguna and the Toyota Carina offer more. Its best-selling rival, the Ford Mondeo, does not however, but that car still has the edge over the Vauxhall in several areas. Keener steering, a superior gearchange, a much better driving position, a slightly more convenient, if less attractive, facia layout and stouter performance are among them. The Vauxhall strikes back with anti-lock brakes, a smoother ride, a more inviting cabin, and more quiet and more homogeneous looks.

If the message you're getting is that it's a close run thing, then you're right - the standard among the best of this class is high. Vectra, Laguna, Mondeo, it doesn't matter which you buy, because you'll be getting a damn good car. And something better than a Cavalier.

Richard Bremner

Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
News
Stephen Hawking is reportedly taking steps to trademark his name
people
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: IT Account Manager

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

    Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

    Recruitment Genius: Inside Sales Executive - Software & Hardware Automation

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This market leading hardware an...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor