It’s a good job I allowed plenty of time to get there as I was driving around in circles for 15 minutes until I lost patience and found my own way to the car park.
However, I’m sorry to report that post-Waterloo, the Vectra is no longer in perfect condition after having been booted in the backside by a builders’ merchant’s lorry.
I was waiting at a junction to turn right when I glanced in the mirror to see a lorry approaching. I remember thinking: ‘He seems to be going too fast, he’s not slowing down, he’s not going to stop! Unsurprisingly the lorry was undamaged but the Vectra was crumpled around the tailgate, with both sets of lights cracked but not broken.
Thankfully the motorised tailgate action was undamaged, as I had visions of watching my trapped shopping defrost before my eyes.
Vauxhall’s insurers dealt with the paperwork in a matter of hours, and our local dealer has quoted for the repair.
But as parts prices will be charged at invoicing time, it is difficult to say what the final bill will be, although the estimator said we should expect the cost to be in the high hundreds to a thousand pounds area. The Vectra goes in for repair later this month so we’ll report on the outcome next time.
It is incidents like this which re-inforce the appeal of a company car. All I had to do was contact the insurer and let them take on all the hassle. And as the accident wasn’t my fault, I will receive a courtesey car paid for by the at-fault driver’s insurance, making sure I’m not left stranded.
Dint or no dint, the Vectra is still delivering 40+ mpg (it is currently averaging 42.4mpg) and the Euro IV-compliant 150bhp CDTi diesel delivers all the power you could ever need, even when packed to the gills.
And I’m still amazed at how much luggage the Vectra can swallow – it is the only vehicle I’ve tested which will take a pushchair side to side or front to back.
The only downside of such boot depth is that you have to crawl inside to get anything behind the rear seats.
Although I was thankful that the action of the motorised tailgate was undamaged, I have finally decided that it has become more of a nuisance than a boon after spending too much time waiting for it to open and close, especially when the motion detector safety device cuts in for no apparent reason and takes you twice as long to open and close it.
Save yourself £500 and don’t tick that option box. Instead, spend it on front and rear parking sensors and save yourself £75.
Model: Vauxhall Vectra estate 1.9 CDTi 150 SRi
Price (OTR): £20,965 (£24,415 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 165
Company car tax bill (2005/6): 22% tax-payer £73 a month
Insurance group: 11
Combined mpg: 46.3
Test mpg: 42.4
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,900/24%
Expenditure to date: Nil
Typical contract hire rate:£419
Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles