Fleet News

Vauxhall Vectra SRi/GSi

Vauxhall

Review

Adding the letters SRi to the previous Vauxhall Vectra certainly did the trick, accounting for 20% of Vectra sales (latterly boosted with the addition of the 2.6-litre V6 GSi).

Key to the success of the SRi version is its availability with a number of engine variants and Vauxhall has expanded this further with the option of a diesel SRi with the new Vectra.

The hatchback-only SRi and GSi models are designed for the UK market and with more aggressive styling cues are bound to appeal to company car drivers who want their cars to stand out a little from other upper-medium hatches.

SRi is available on 1.8 and 2.2-litre petrol engines, along with the 2.2DTi, while the GSi is only available with the 3.2- litre V6 – also found in the Omega and Frontera – which puts it in the same league as the 3.0-litre Ford Mondeo ST220.

However, the styling changes are quite discreet – the headlight clusters have black surrounds, the bumpers are altered and there is a subtle boot spoiler that you hardly notice.

The car also sits 20mm lower than the standard Vectra hatchback and has uprated suspension settings and standard 17-inch alloy wheels – with different designs for SRi and GSi.

The interior of the SRi is based on the standard Vectra but has a metallic strip across the dashboard and dark sports seats. Like all Vectras, the SRi has air conditioning and advanced stability and braking system, cruise control, six airbags, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

Extra standard features for the SRi are mainly cosmetic apart from the front foglamps, a trip computer and leather trim on the steering wheel and gear knob.

However, the GSi adds a CD autochanger, climate control, electric rear windows, ESP Plus (electronic stabilisation programme), part-leather seats and xenon headlamps.

The bad news for company car drivers is that while the 1.8SRi has more sprightly acceleration through shorter gear ratios, the knock-on effect on fuel consumption and emissions puts the SRi two benefit-in-kind tax bands higher than the standard 1.8, with carbon dioxide emissions of 190g/km instead of 184g/km.

The 2.2-litre petrol variant is still the pick of the range for a combination of performance and refinement – its 145bhp is deployed smoothly and almost silently. There really is no more refined four-cylinder car on the market.

While the other Vectra models have been criticised in some areas of the media for not being as much of a driver's car as the Ford Mondeo, the SRi and GSi fight back.

Vauxhall might argue that the Vectra's comfort-biased driving characteristics are more appealing to the vast majority of upper-medium car drivers, but the SRi and GSi will appeal to those who prefer a more involving driving experience.

The cars feel a little sharper than the standard Vectras, with less body roll and quicker steering.

Grip is impressive, as is the way you can just thread the car through a series of bends with a few movements of the wrists.

While the gearchange is smooth, the throw is rather long, and led me to prefer the automatic version of the GSi. There is nothing to choose between the manual and auto in the 0-60mph sprint, and the auto has a five-speed sequential change facility to give more control when tackling fast bends.

The penalty is the cost of the auto option on your P11D and its higher CO2 emissions, putting the GSi auto three company car tax bands higher than the manual. But we are in the upper reaches of the scale here, so the extra tax might not be such an issue.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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