1989 Vauxhall Senator Reviews

1989 Vauxhall Senator 3.0i from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 3.0i Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired112000 miles
Most recent distance169500 miles
Previous carVauxhall Cavalier

Summary:

Quality, comfort and bags enjoyment

Faults:

ABS Sensor failure.

It failed it's last 2 Mot's needing repair work to rusted Chassis.

Had to repair rust hole in the bulkhead behind the dashboard on the drivers side. This was caused by a build up of leaves in the drain hole. It seems impossible to to clear them all out!

Rear electric window motor failure. (Not bad though as the car had done 140,000 miles at the time)

The Slide mechanism of the sunroof gave up in sympathy 52 miles later! Even a main dealer would not attempt to repair it.

The starter motor solenoid caught fire taking out half the HT leads and bonnet lining.

General Comments:

Despight a few minor problems (to be expected after such a long time on the road), she still drives as well today as the first time.

The car is still very comfortable and easy to drive.

I've had massive amounts of fun and enjoyment owning the car. Nothing really major has gone wrong.

The upholstery is so plush, it's like sitting in an armchair. The interior looks and feels better than many cars around today.

Mechanically sound and very easy to work on. It's great to have the space under the bonnet to turn a spanner.

Sadly the lacker is peeling and rust is taking it's toll. It will be a sad day when I have to part with it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 30th July, 2004

1989 Vauxhall Senator 2.5i 2.5 Straight 6 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.5 Straight 6 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired97000 miles
Most recent distance115000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz 190

Summary:

Very cheap luxury motoring!

Faults:

Luckily only one thing gas gone wrong, the offside headlamp leveling motor refused to switch off!

General Comments:

Overall the cars are such good value for money, although mine is only the base model 2.5i it still has the smoothest gear change I have ever felt, pretty good performance for a car of its size, seats like armchairs! and thankfully the 2.5i isn't crammed with unnecessary electrics.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th February, 2003

1989 Vauxhall Senator CDi 3.0 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership1996
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 3.0 petrol Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.6 / 10
Distance when acquired117000 miles
Most recent distance203000 miles
Previous carVauxhall Cavalier

Summary:

Comfortable, reliable, good value second hand, but watch for rust

Faults:

Hole in air conditioning heat exchanger, £800.

Cruise control failed, £150.

Heater fan failed, £300.

Heat adjustment failed, one side, £100.

One valve spring snapped, £50.

Fuel pump relay failed, £50.

Thermostat failed, £50.

Front brake discs replaced twice.

Extensive rust underneath requiring welding to pass MoT after 11 years, £500.

Electrics now becoming unreliable.

General Comments:

Not a bad record, considering the miles this car has done. Engine, gearbox and power steering still seem fine, no appreciable wear visible on seats, carpet, steering wheel, pedal pads etc. Comfortable, quiet, good handling, low depreciation, reliable. A bit expensive to run because of parts cost and fuel consumption.

Rust and corrosion turn out to be its Achille's heel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th July, 2002

1989 Vauxhall Senator 3.0i 3.0i from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 3.0i Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired113000 miles
Most recent distance146000 miles
Previous carFord Granada

Summary:

One of the best cars that I have owned

Faults:

Nothing serious yet.

General Comments:

These cars are still within the realms of the home mechanic, to be able to repair.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th July, 2002

1989 Vauxhall Senator 3.0i 12v from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 3.0i 12v Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired87000 miles
Most recent distance89000 miles
Previous carBMW 5 Series

Summary:

Nice big car for the money

Faults:

Exhaust blowing in the offside mid and rear section in one of the 2 main carrier pipes.

ABS warning light comes on above 10 mph.

This shows that the ABS system has shut down and is no longer in operation. This is probably a faulty sensor.

The UK MOT test rules state that the ABS warning light should be on when the key is turned to the ignition stage, i.e. the car is ready for the starter motor to turn and start the engine, but go out as soon as the engine is running at idle speed (on this and many other makes of car).

It is well known amongst automotive engineers that this ABS warning light should go out at the very same time as the oil pressure warning light, i.e. as soon as the engine has reached idle speed.

This is interesting, as the two lights could potentially be wired together to ensure an MOT pass, even though the problem with the ABS system still exists, and could cost hundreds of pounds to fix.

As ABS was fitted as an optional extra to many makes and models of car when new, and also carried a significant premium as an optional extra (often over a thousand pounds), it can be assumed that these cars will be perfectly safe to drive without the ABS system in operation, whether it was fitted to the car or not when new.

General Comments:

This car was obtained for an extremely low price, and with not much work passed its MOT test.

The car is a 3.0i auto and will outperform around 80% of cars on the road today in the UK today.

It has been very reliable and cheap to run for such an old and large car (in the UK at least), and the very low cost of obtaining one of these cars makes the extra fuel costs insignificant.

If you find one of these cars in good condition, I would recommend buying it as long as the mileage is low for the age of the car, as they are solid and nice to drive as long as you don't try and drive them like a sports car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 1st December, 2001

17th Dec 2001, 11:31

I agree with most of what is said. They are very cheap to buy, don't be put off by high mileages as long as it has history (just have the timing chain checked!).

I have had 3, 2 of them went over 200k & were still fine engine wise. The main problem with these cars is the rear arches, once they start... oh dear!

I would always recommend the 24v version, it is actually more economical & will give over 30mpg when driven sensibly.

One final point, NEVER buy an ex police job! Go for the CD version & have all your little luxuries (but don't expect the air con to work!).

Would recommend these cars to anyone.

Average review marks: 6.9 / 10, based on 13 reviews