From £16,960
Best Vectra yet. The only model to pose a question the Mondeo has no answer for

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Insignia

The Vauxhall Insignia is only small details away from rivalling the class best

2 September 2003

Vauxhall’s partnership with Saab is, more often than not, reported in the 9-3’s extensive use of Vectra underpinnings. So it’s a nice change for Luton to borrow a little bit of Swedish know-how when spicing up the Vectra with a turbo version.Rather than using the homegrown turbos powering the Zafira and Astra Gsi, the Vectra 2.0T uses an adaptation of the 2.0-litre four found in the Saab 9-3. But with a Griffin badge on the cam cover it produces 173bhp at 5500rpm and 195lb ft at a usefully low 2500rpm.

Inside, the only clue to the new engine is on the gearlever: this is the first time a Vauxhall driver has had six cogs to play with since the days of the Calibra Turbo. It’s a pretty slick shifter, too and ratios are well matched to the engine.

Second takes you to nigh-on 60mph, so there’s not need for unnecessary stirring, and sixth allows relaxed motorway cruising without the irritation of constant gearchanging to regain pace. The light pressure turbo is of the housetrained variety too.

No lag here, just a nice linear response all the way to the red-line. Chirp the tyres away from a standing start and it’s usefully swift too: the 0-62mph sprint takes a reasonable 9.1sec, according to Vauxhall’s stopwatch, but it felt quicker to us.

Yes, this is the best Vectra to date. But some of its shortcomings still show through. Its ability to soak up large bumps and undulations isn’t in question: the problem is that the suspension serves up a jittery ride even at lowish speeds. The Vectra’s ride and composure just can’t match the Mondeo’s.

The Vectra turbo isn’t a supremely accomplished driver’s tool. But it’s good to be talking about a desirable Vectra, at last. And with a 2.0-litre turbo under the bonnet it’s finally got a weapon the Mondeo currently has no answer for.

Rory Lumsdon

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK