Which used Vauxhall Vectra hatchback should I buy?
Buy a face-lifted car from 1999 onwards. These have a much better drive, as well as higher cabin quality and specification. Engines range from a weedy 1.6 petrol to a 2.5 V6, with some drab diesels in between.
Stick with the 1.8, 2.0 or 2.2 petrol engines, and preferably the largest of the three, which is smooth, responsive and not too thirsty. The 2.0-litre diesels are slow and gruff, but the 2.2 version is adequate.
Trim levels run from Envoy, LX and CD to CDX. The sporty models are SXi and SRi. Go for a face-lifted car (T-reg or newer) and LX has all you'd want, including remote locking, electric windows, twin airbags, anti-lock brakes and air conditioning. Move to CD for plusher trim and climate control, while CDX adds leather seats, a CD changer and a trip computer.
Our pick is a 2.2 LX or SXi, the newer the better. And, go for a hatchback, not the saloon - it's more useful.
Buy from a trusted independent dealer - preferably one that sells plenty of Vectras.