Used Vauxhall Vectra Saloon 1995 - 2002 review

Category: Family car

The final 02-reg models make sense if they're cheap. Pre-'99 models are unimpressive

Used Vauxhall Vectra Saloon 1995 - 2002
  • Used Vauxhall Vectra Saloon 1995 - 2002
  • Used Vauxhall Vectra Saloon 1995 - 2002
Used Vauxhall Vectra Saloon 1995 - 2002 review
Star rating

What's the used Vauxhall Vectra saloon like?

It's a practical family car, built to please company fleet bosses, so it's tough, simple to fix and cheap to own. However, it is also dull to look at, sit in or drive.

The steering column doesn't adjust on the oldest models, so making yourself comfortable can prove tricky, but height adjustment came in from 1997. There's plenty of space up front and generous stowage, but headroom is restricted in the back. The boot is big, but the opening is not as good on this saloon as it is on the hatchback. Mid-'90s cars felt stodgy to drive even when new, with steering that gave little feedback and brakes that weren't progressive enough. The ride at town speeds is jittery, too, although it calms down at motorway speeds. However, face-lifted cars from 1999 onwards felt livelier. They were more generously equipped, too. The car gained three stars from Euro NCAP for occupant safety, which is good for its era.


The final 02-reg models make sense if they're cheap. Pre-'99 models are unimpressive

  • Super-cheap to buy and run, engines are lively, and it's smooth and quiet
  • It's dull to look at and stodgy to drive
  • oldest ones are none too reliable

Ownership cost

What used Vauxhall Vectra saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Vauxhall Vectra saloon?

The Vectra's greatest asset is that it is cheap to buy and straightforward to service, while spares are generally low-priced. Previous owners will have taken the biggest hits on depreciation, and any loss in value from here on in promises to be kinder.

Repairs will be more frequent as the car ages, but using a local garage helps keep bills sensible. However, clutches and air-con faults can hit your wallet hard. Insurance groups run from groups 6-16, which is pretty much par for the course for this kind of car. The most popular 1.8s sit in group 9 and the 2.2 petrols in group 11. Economy is a strong point: expect close to 40mpg from 1.8s, a touch less from the 2.2 petrol and 40mpg or more from the 2.2 turbodiesel. The 2.6 V6, meanwhile, struggles to get above 20mpg.

Our recommendations

Which used Vauxhall Vectra saloon 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 this saloon - it's more useful. Buy from a trusted independent dealer - preferably one that sells plenty of Vectras.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Vauxhall Vectra saloon?