In 19,000 miles with Fleet News the car averaged 42.8mpg, ranging from 40.5mpg when it joined the fleet with less than 1,000 miles on the clock to 44.3mpg earlier this month.
At all times, the test rate was below Vauxhall’s claimed combined figure, but nevertheless its 61-litre fuel tank will see you comfortably cover at least 600 miles between fill-ups.
Add to that a 0-60mph time of 9.5 seconds and Vauxhall’s smooth-as-warm-butter gearbox, firm but comfortable seats and massive boot – which incidentally is bigger than the old Omega estate’s – 1.2 metres long and with a volume of 530 litres with the rear seats in place or 1,850 with them folded down – and you have a package which satisfies all the toughest fleet requirements.
However, there were inevitable trials and tribulations. The first came when an over-enthusiastic shove of some flatpack furniture into the boot saw me break off a plastic casing on a rear seat back locking mechanism. The replacement, ordered through the dealer network, took three months to arrive.
And that wasn’t the end of the waiting.
A ‘lug’ to secure the part did not arrive for a further month. Both pieces had to be ordered from Germany. We had been told by our local dealer that they would be here in days and it was annoying that the estimated arrival date was so far from reality.
The car was brought back to full fitness just in time for a colleague to be in collision with a lorry in July. The rear-end shunt from the HGV cracked both rear lights. The car was still driveable and the electric tailgate (a £500 option) carried on working.
But yet again we had to wait for the repairs. The rear light replacement lenses were put on special order from Germany and took about a month to turn up.
To draw a conclusion on the Vectra, there is a clear consenus that through all the challenges the car proved to have the characteristics needed to succeed as a workhorse of UK plc – tough and reliable and fit for purpose while also being great to drive and economical to run.
But it does seem strange that a car which sells in such huge numbers in the UK is subject to lengthy delays for some parts.
What the team thought
EVEN in my all-too-brief stint with the Vectra, its many virtues soon became apparent.
‘Limo-standards’ of legroom for rear seat passengers and a load platform long enough to accommodate a new washing machine lengthways without having to fold the rear seats down impressed. The dark (and a bit too gloomy) interior of our SRi-specification Vectra stood up amazingly well to all the abuse thrown at it.
I’D always looked upon the Vectra as being rather workaday and drab – until I borrowed it for a weekend to help my son move house. During those two days I was totally smitten by the massive load volume and stylish interior. And with a refined 150bhp turbodiesel engine, it’s no mean mover either. I stand both converted and corrected.
FOR any fleet, this is a fantastic package to offer drivers. It is a great drive, offering exceptional economy, good room, voluminous load volume, great handling, one of the quietest cabins on the motorway I have ever experienced and good looks. As a package, it is almost flawless, apart from the automatic tailgate, which generally proved more of a hindrance than a help.
Model: Vauxhall Vectra estate 1.9 CDTi 150 Sri
Price (OTR): £20,965 (£24,415 as tested)
Total mileage: 19,631
CO2 emissions (g/km): 165
Company car tax bill (2005/06) 40% tax-payer: £132 a month
Insurance group: 11
Combined mpg: 46.3
Test mpg: 42.8
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,875/24%
Total expenditure: Nil
Typical contract hire rate: £420