Fleet News

Vauxhall Vectra 2.2 DTi LS - 6,112 miles



AT the time of writing, our long-term Vauxhall Vectra 2.2DTi is on an excursion to France in the hands of Fleet NewsNet editor Jeremy Bennett.

But I had the chance to revisit it again before it set off for foreign parts. To recap, our test car is an entry-level LS fitted with a few extras like CD autochanger, satellite navigation and heated seats.

Getting back in the Vectra after a few months, I had forgotten how spacious and comfortable it was and despite its 123bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine losing out to more modern units on performance and economy (this is the only car in this class with neither common rail nor pumpe duse technology), it is still remarkably refined.

Compare it with, say, a Renault Laguna, Citroen C5 or Nissan Primera and I would argue the Vectra is still the most pleasant to drive overall. Perhaps that is why it was favoured transport for the long journey to France.

However, since its launch last summer, Vauxhall has decided to remove the fantastic range of adjustment (eight-directions, no less) for the front passenger seat as standard. Although our car has it, the passenger seat pack is now on the options list for an extra £75, offering lumbar support and height adjustment.

You have to question Vauxhall's motives for this when newer cars like the Mazda6 and Toyota Avensis seem to offer more (albeit not in the passenger seat department) for less cash.

However, the Vectra is still decent value, with residual values remaining stable at 29% for this 2.2 DTi LS nearly a year on from its launch. Far less attractive, however, is how it measures up on benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. The 2.2-litre was never a strong performer on carbon dioxide emissions. Compare it with the Volkswagen Passat 1.9TDI 130 and the Ford Mondeo 2.0TDCi 130 and the Vectra is found wanting.

Compare its CO2 emissions of 176g/km, with our long-term Ford Mondeo 2.0TDCi Zetec S which records 164g/km, or the Passat's 154g/km with the five-speed transmission and you get the point.

So nearly six months on from its arrival at Fleet Towers, the Vectra has proved a mixed bag – solid RVs for this class, supreme comfort and excellent refinement spoilt by poor BIK liability and uninspiring styling and sporting dynamics.

Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% taxpayer): £65 per month

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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