Alternator failure at 61,000 left car stranded temporarily; new one was fitted under warranty without quibble by second-hand dealer. Alternator faults seem to be the single most common problem with the current crop of Vauxhalls, according to fleet news sources.
Coolant pump very noisy, at all engine speeds, circa 60,000 miles - replaced not because of any actual cooling problems but simply to eradicate the irritating noise; only £50 for the new one from Vauxhall incl. VAT.
Most problematic fault came at 62,000 miles; sudden worrying 'clanking' from top end of engine; misfiring; power loss etc; car virtually undriveable. I thought it had trashed either a hydraulic tappet or camshaft component, but (thankfully) the problem was more simple. A timing sprocket was replaced along with the root of many an enigmatic engine problem: The crankshaft position sensor. Once that was replaced, the engine just purred away, with no further problems, and just a subtle hint of valve gear noise as would be expected from a 2.0 DOHC with 60,000-plus on the clock. It now idles like a dream; tick-over before had sounded like an old diesel bus!
Purchased with 60,000 on the clock and three years old, this is a very comfortable car with nice handling; compares well to the Senators and Carlton's I've owned in the past. The 2.0i Ecotec lacks pulling-power however; it prefers a more sedate 60-70 MPH and circa 3,000rpm at cruise; it's rather a noisy block too - a criticism often levelled at the 2.0i in this model. Engine noise becomes conspicuous above 70mph. Nevertheless, the manual version I have is essentially smooth and drives well in all road and traffic conditions. The interior is spacious and refined without an air of extra quality such as in the BMW's and Audi's, but don't be put-off - for a mass-market executive car, this one is well worth a look and certainly the Omega clobbers the similarly-priced and similar vintage rivals such as the Rover 800 series and Ford Scorpio.
Other niggles? The paintwork, which chips and scratches as if it were sprayed-on using kid's watercolours. The leading edge of the bonnet is especially prone to this, apparently suffering irrespective of mileage, and it is a constant job with the touch-up paint just keeping the thing looking pristine. Make sure you purchase a set of mudflaps, too - there's too many of these nice-looking cars cruising about covered in filfth!! A proper set from Vauxhall is currently £27 including VAT.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 31st December, 1998