1993 Vauxhall Carlton Diplomat 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland
Vauxhall got this car right
Cruise control stopped working alongside the air con.
Central locking worked only when it felt like it.
Very minor rust here and there.
General wear and tear - new brakes, suspension, oil changes and cambelt.
One of my favorite cars, and does not deserve its old man image. The press loved the Lotus Carlton back in the day and it got rave reviews, but ordinary Carltons were largely ignored and didn't garner much of a following till they got a bit older, then a cult following started.
Mine was the Diplomat, which was the top model, full leather and all the options. It was to this day one of the most well appointed cars I ever had. The interior was just as good as a top BMW or Mercedes from the same era. Electric everything.
The 2.0 engine was bullet proof reliable, but was not very fast. It did manage over 30 MPG though, not much by nowadays standards, but acceptable back in the day.
Given the fact the car was 9 years old when I acquired it, and the 5 following years I had it after that, it was very reliable, and the minor electronic failings listed above did not bother me too much, and overall the car was reliable and this is what these cars were famous for. I put serious mileage on it with not much else other than wear and tear. The car was excellent to drive and I reckon could give the premium German rivals a run for their money in all departments except performance. Mind you, there was a 2.6 engine available in this spec which I've heard were fast, and a 3.0 if you want to go all out. Take another step up and get a Senator - basically a slightly bigger version of this car. All models were great executive cars in their own right and it's a shame badge snobbery led most people to ignore these cars.
To conclude, I would love it if Vauxhall made similar cars again. They got everything right with this car, which its underlying design dates back to the 80s, so it's amazing it was not developed further. I sold mine at 14 years old and nearly 200K on it, still going strong. What a fool, I now want it back! There's probably less than a couple of hundred of these cars left on the road in UK now. Kind of makes me sad.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 31st October, 2016
21st Sep 2017, 14:27
You're right about there being only a few hundred Carlton's or so left now. Check out www.howmanyleft.co.uk to see how many are on the road. A similar figure for the Cavalier; unfortunately not many Senator's left though. The good news is the remaining cars will likely be in the hands of enthusiasts, so those figures should last a bit longer; most good condition 80s and 90s Vauxhall's values are rising now due to rarity.