1987 Vauxhall Senator CD 3.0 injection
What a wonderful car!
1 - The radiator has a small leak.
2 - The water pump was replaced at 42,000 miles.
3 - Wiring where the loom passes from the chassis through to the door had perished due to age - a couple of hours DIY sorted it out.
4 - Small oil leak above exhaust manifold. It turned out that the two rearmost rocker cover bolts were a bit loose - tightening them solved the problem.
What a wonderful car! If you want one of those rare cars that puts passenger comfort above absolute handling, then this is the perfect car for you - if you can find one. The car has a very high standard specification: air conditioning, heated seats, electric windows, mirrors and sunroof, power steering, fuel computer and automatic transmission are all standard on this, the CD model.
The suspension is biased quite strongly towards a comfortable ride, and indeed it is possibly the best riding car in which I have travelled in recent memory.
However, while not exactly a sports car, the soft-ish spring rates do not seem to affect the handling a great deal. While it obviously feels like the heavy car that it is, the handling is still very neat, with power over-steer available if required. The steering is very forgiving - overstep the mark and the car politely reminds you that it is nearing the edges of its fairly prodigious grip. Wet weather seems not to affect the handling a great deal. It's no wonder that these cars, and the model that superceded them, were the policeman's favourite highway patrol car.
The car is very quiet at all speeds. Tyre roar is well suppressed, even with the cheap tyres fitted to my car at the moment (have been fitted since before I got the car - they just don't seems to wear out). Engine noise is equally minimal, due in part to the effective sound-deadening, but mainly to very long gears - at 60 MPH, the engine is turning at less than 2000 RPM.
These long gears are also an aid to fuel economy, which is average for a car of this size and weight. Up to 40 MPG is possible on the motorway, at the steady 60 MPH that this car's relaxed nature encourages. When pressing on, however, fuel economy suffers - 28 MPG should be considered a good average.
The straight six cylinder engine, with 180 BHP, is perfectly powerful for this car. The engine might lack the expected 'low down' torque, but it gives a seemingly limitless supply above about 2000 RPM. The engine is also very smooth.
In terms of reliability, the car is known to be a sturdy, reliable machine. The engine in particular is quite capable of 250,000 - 300,000 miles with 6000 mile oil changes. Those problems listed above are all that has gone wrong over the last three years and all are minor, do-it-yourself fixer-uppers.
The Vauxhall/Opel Senator, and in particular the 3.0i CD variant, is a relaxed highway cruiser of the highest order. While top speed is a respectable 130 MPH, the car is for more suited to a relaxed 60 or 70 MPH cruise - the sort of speed at which this car does not break a sweat. If you want power, it is there is shovelfuls, if you want comfort, this car has them all beaten, if you want a great all round car, and if you can find one, the Vauxhall Senator is the perfect car for you.
For more information, check out: http://www.autobahnstormers.org/
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th January, 2007
This is one of the best cars ever, I agree. The Carlton and Senator from Vauxhall are simply excellent cars, something Vauxhall could not repeat again. The Omega was OK, but the late 80's or early 90's Carlton or Senator are the cars to have. I had a 2 litre Carlton a couple of years back, always wanted a Senator, never got round to getting one, best car I ever had, wish I never sold it, but circumstances forced me to. Now it's very hard to find one of these cars in good condition. If you have one - look after it well, there's not many left.