Which used Vauxhall Vectra hatchback should I buy?
If your cash will stretch to it, go for a mid-to-late 2005 car, because a face-lift that year brought worthwhile improvements to the way it rides and handles, as well as some spec upgrades.
Whichever age you choose, the 120bhp and 149bhp 1.9 diesels are gutsy performers. Don't aspire to the 3.0 V6 diesel instead, though - it's quicker, but not by enough to justify the extra thirst.
The petrol line-up includes a 1.8 (the best overall balance of performance and cost), 2.0 turbo (keen driver's choice), 2.2 (motorway muncher), 2.8, 3.0 and 3.2 V6s (effortless go) and VXR 2.8 V6 turbo (whoooosh).
Go for Design, Elite or (sporting) SRi trim if you have the cash. Safety kit is top-notch on all models, but some omissions (no rear electric windows) on lower-specification cars can surprise and irritate. Vauxhall's approved used Network Q programme has loads of cars and top after-sales back-up - or try the supermarkets, which are well stocked, too.