I count myself lucky to have had the Vectra for my mammoth driving stint.
The driving seat is as comfortable as any seat can be on such long trips and the car proved supremely capable, from the long-haul motorway trips to the 'hop-skip-and-jumps' to the nearest hypermarket.
During the latter journeys, there was a small moment of concern when the temperature gauge began to rise slightly during a spell of stop/start driving. I was able to rest the car for a good hour shortly after this and having checked fluid levels were OK, carried on with the journey without any problems.
My partner and I had packed more than enough clothing for the week in France and came back with enough plonk for six month's imbibing.
The boot and back seat were enough to swallow all this luggage with ease. Since its return from France, the Vectra has since carried a TV/video cabinet and a large guitar amplifier around without too many problems.
The only obvious point against the car is the indicator stalk. Time has not healed the frustration the so-called touch- sensitive system causes.
The length of time the indicators flash is dependent on the pressure you put on the stalks: gentle touch for a short burst to warn other drivers you're changing lanes, hold the stalk down a little longer to demonstrate a turn at a junction, for example.
But the stalk is not sensitive enough to the pressure the driver exerts. In extreme circumstances, I've been left holding the stalk down with my right hand and turning with my left to ensure I managed the signal part of the Highway Code's 'mirror-signal-manoeuvre' routine correctly.
Come on Vauxhall, whip them out and put some good old-fashioned on-off indicators in instead.
This is the only blot of any note on the Vectra copybook. Put aside this problem and you are left with an ideal fleet workhorse.
Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% taxpayer): £65 per month