Review: Vauxhall Vectra (2002 – 2008)


Far better than previous Vectra. Now with decent handling and an excellent ride. Plenty of safety kit. Roomy in the front. Big boot. Good looks.

Not as sharp to drive as a Mondeo. Limited rear legroom. The 2.2DI can be heavy on the oil. Reports of parking brake failures.

Vauxhall Vectra (2002 – 2008): At A Glance

The new Vectra is a big car for big people. It's so big in the front seats that trying to get comfortable I felt like I'd shrunk.

So that's the first piece of good news for our growing population.

Vauxhall Vectra CDTI 150 2004 Road Test

What does a Vauxhall Vectra (2002 – 2008) cost?

Vauxhall Vectra (2002 – 2008): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4611–4839 mm
Width 1798 mm
Height 1460–1500 mm
Wheelbase 2700–2830 mm

Full specifications

Big continues at the back. The yawning chasm of a boot looks like it would cheerfully accommodate an entire flat-pack kitchen. So if you ever see a new shape Vectra with a top-box, the family inside it is probably moving house. But all that baggage space does come at a price and in this case it's rear legroom. Even I found it uncomfortable to sit behind myself, so while a giant would be happy in the front seat, he'd better not regard the new Vectra as family transport.

Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Vectra (2002 – 2008)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Vauxhall Vectra (2002 – 2008) like to drive?

The belt-cam FIAT/Alfa/GM 1.9 litre 150PS diesel is very impressive. Not as gruff and ‘sudden' as VAG's new 140PS 2.0 litre. But with masses of mid-range torque that fling the car forwards in 3rd and 4th gear. I can't imagine any mid-managers relegated from their 3.0 litre V6s feeling short-changed in that department. Vauxhall certainly gets its gearing right these days. The 150 pulls around 35mph per 1,000rpm in 6th which is not only pleasant and relaxing, it means that a legal 70 you're at the perfect revs to quickly increase speed if you need to without changing down. And in contrast to last week's Astra turbo, instead of drinking petrol at 30 - 35mpg you're sipping diesel at 40 - 45mpg.

The car sits on the same ‘Epsilon' platform as the current SAAB 9-3, so it's far from the stodgy old pudding the previous Vectra was. I suspect it rides a lot better too, but wasn't able to judge that properly because someone had seen fit to ‘bling' the test car up on optional 19" alloy wheels shod with thin strips of 235/35 ZR19 rubber. So, of course, while accelerating hard, any imperfection in the road surface had it torque-steering all over the place. Braking on the uneven surfaces now provided before most roundabouts also upset it quite badly. Even road markings could be felt through the steering. Yet, in spite of this, the ride over traffic harming measures was not too bad. So I strongly suspect that on more sensible, standard 17" wheels and tyres there would be less to complain about. And there would be no grouches at all on the 215/55 R16s of lower spec Vectras.

I'm not getting at Vauxhall here. These days, motors have to appeal to everyone and if they hadn't put 19" alloys on the options list, then the aftermarket definitely would have.

So what's the verdict? Better or worse than a Mondeo? I remain a Mondeo man because it's still a sharper handling car. But whereas the difference between a Mondeo and the old Vectra used to be chalk and cheese, now they're no more than different kinds of cheeses. So if someone told me they preferred their new Vectra to a Mondeo I wouldn't get into a silly argument.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.8i 16V 39 mpg - 173 g/km
1.8i 16V Estate 38 mpg - 180 g/km
1.8i 16V Saloon 39 mpg - 173 g/km
1.9 CDTi 120 50 mpg - 154 g/km
1.9 CDTi 120 Estate 49 mpg - 157 g/km
1.9 CDTi 120 Saloon 50 mpg - 154 g/km
1.9 CDTi 150 50 mpg - 154 g/km
1.9 CDTi 150 Estate 49 mpg - 157 g/km
1.9 CDTi 150 Saloon 50 mpg - 154 g/km
2.0i 16V Turbo 33 mpg - 206 g/km
2.0i 16V Turbo Estate 32 mpg - 211 g/km
2.2i 16V Direct 38 mpg - 180 g/km
2.2i 16V Direct Estate 36 mpg - 187 g/km
2.2i 16V Direct Saloon 38 mpg - 180 g/km
3.0 CDTi V6 41 mpg - 186 g/km
3.0 CDTi V6 Estate 41 mpg - 186 g/km
VXR 27 mpg - 250 g/km
VXR Estate 27 mpg - 252 g/km

Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Vectra (2002 – 2008)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

19–58 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Vauxhall Vectra (2002 – 2008)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Why does my car keep kicking out lots of white smoke?

My Vauxhall Vectra has started kicking out LOTS of white smoke. Then nothing for days and then smoke again. The water level is dropping slowly but performance is all good - the engine temp has always been either 0 degrees or 90. The oil is black and the water is clear. Any ideas?
White smoke is indicating that the fuel being injected into the cylinder is not burning correctly (the smoke will burn your eyes). The reasons for this are: - engine/pump timing out - fuel starvation to the pump causing the pumps timing not to operate correctly - low engine compression - water/petrol in the fuel We would suggest that you carry out a compression test /sniff test to ascertain the head gasket condition
Answered by Alan Ross
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