A solidly-built, reliable car which seemed to go on forever, a bit like the Queen Mother!
I bought an 84B Orion 1.6 GL in September 1990 for £2,000. It was a good car from day one and I owned it until December 2001. The engine was still running as smoothly as ever, but the bodywork was starting to rust. It's now a pool car and can be seen driving around Dudley and Tipton in the West Midlands.
The bodywork, like I said, starting rusting by the time the car was 15 years old and the once comfortable seats started to wear away so bad I needed to replace them. All the brake fluid leaked out after 16 years, but the engine marched on and I sold it to a 17-year-old (the same age as the car) for £25.
The insurance was about £250 a year when I bought it, but I stopped paying insurance in 1997 because I'd lost my job and realised that the insurance was more expensive than my car. For 4 years I drove with no insurance!
The Orion was an extremely reliable car and it was only after about 15 years that the bodywork started to show its age. The engine lasted though.
The ride and handling were both excellent when I bought it and they still match the standards of the new Ford Focus. The build quality was good in its day, but of course it started to show its age in the end. The interior was hardly a style statement, but it did the job.
When I sold the Orion I bought a 95N Renault Clio 1.2 RT for £1,000. It lasted 18 months before the engine blew up and I sold it to a mate for £75. It's now in a scrapyard in Walsall because a gang of joyriders smashed it into a lamp post.
I'm now driving a 99T Vauxhall Astra 1.6 LS which I bought for £2,500. It's a great deal better than the wash-out of a Renault I had just sold, but the mechanicals are really rattly and it's no match for the brillaint Orion. The insurance is good value - £200 per year. Well worth the money because it's about 10% the car's value, not 10 times more than the car's value like the insurance they want me to pay on some cars!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st January, 2004