2004 Vauxhall Vectra LX 1.8 petrol
A comfortable and cheap car, with good economy and a strong engine
Rear offside lower suspension arm had excessive play (after 8 years). £110 replacement total cost.
Lambda sensor went 2 weeks after purchase - replaced by dealer.
Handbrake failed on a hill - the car rolled into someone's back wall!
I'll start with the handbrake. Don't trust it. I didn't know at the time, but this was a recall issue, and I subsequently found my car one day buried in a poor neighbor's back yard wall. More worryingly, when I got to the car, the handbrake was completely down. This means it failed after I parked it, unloaded 3 bags of shopping and filled the fridge. GET THE HANDBRAKE CHECKED.
To be clear however, I still love this car. The wall was demolished, but the Vectra itself only had a cracked rear bumper!
The car is like driving a cloud when you hit a bump, and the 1.8 engine has a deceptively large amount of power at low speeds. The car is huge, the interior space is plentiful, and it has a generous amount of boot space.
Cornering - go slow, it can't corner particularly well, as this is a good example of a car designed for the motorway. You will be glad of that seat belt, as the amount of roll from the car is extreme.
It's not the most comfortable car, but it's nothing to complain about, with a very adjustable seat.
I drive mostly urban, and as such, got around 35 MPG from the car - even with a heavy right foot.
The single best thing about this car though is the price. I got mine for 2k with a full service history, 60,000 on the clock, not a scratch on the car and new brakes all round. You will just not get as good a car with so much in it for any less.
Be careful of the suspension however. Check the history for replacement coil springs and suspension arms, as they are by far the single weakest part of this car. If you do have a creaky suspension - won't worry as the parts are cheap - use it as a way to negotiate the price down, then stick some funds into the car to ensure the coils are replaced with aftermarket ones. You won't regret it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 6th July, 2013