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.

General Comments:

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.

1993 Vauxhall Carlton GSi 24V 3.0i from UK and Ireland


The only thing better is a Senator :)


Timing chain snapped, destroying the engine; faultless until that point.

General Comments:

Fast, reliable (apart from weak timing chains!), can't say enough good things about this car. Now a rare sight on the road, it was only a few years ago I had mine, but now looking to buy another. The body kit wasn't the best looking, I preferred the standard Carlton in CDX or Diplomat spec, but a GSi 24v is the one to have; such good memories.

Cruise control still worked after all those years and mileage, but I did not use it much. Spent most of my time on A-roads in the north of Scotland, leaving many a boy racer in their hot hatches, devoid of any comfort or luxury, in the dust. 0-60 in 7 seconds and a top speed of 150mph might be an average executive car's performance nowadays, but this car just feels so fast, the manual gearbox was the best but I've heard even the autos are fast; just a bit harder to induce drifting though :)

Loved it; shame the timing belt went writing off the engine. If you are ever considering buying one of these classics, do get this checked out (they make a noise when they are weak; the engine should be smooth and silent) or consider a 3.0 12v, which I believe did not suffer from this problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th December, 2015