New Holden Vectra goes up-market
The Vectra saloon
Class topping 3.2-litre V6 with 157kW
The Vectra hatch-back
On 16-inch wheels, the hatch looks great
Inside and out, the Vectra impresses
After a few years with the current crop of Vectras, GM has
decided its time to update the ageing model with something
a little more dynamic. Opel, the European arm of the General,
has released some new info on the upcoming Vectra, which will
be sold on local turf under Holden badging towards the end
of 2002, around October.
So, what does the new Vectra have to offer potential customers?
Well, quite a lot, by the looks of things...
The new Vectra has moved upmarket, a place it should have
been in a long time ago. Anyway, the new model is based on
the same Epsilon platform of the 2002 Saab 9-3. Now, this
doesn't mean instant luxury, but it wil contribute to that
Euro-style handling and ride that many are keen to experience.
than anything else though, the new Vectra points towards the
new-look that Opel is slowly introducing to all its models.
The 2002 model Vectra is undeniably Euro, with bold lines
giving it a modernistic look. The new headlight cluster is
also very pleasing and the only solid resemblance to the older
models are the taillights. The overall look is nicely balanced,
confident and more upmarket than the previous model.
It seems as though there's a small amount of intent present
in the new Vectra too, with mild but purposefully flared wheel
arches, slight side-skirts and low frontal spotlights. While
only small cosmetic features, together they add a more purposeful
look to the already pleasing '02 Vectra.
This new third-generation model is also larger than its precursor,
adding some 60mm to the wheelbase and increasing the roof
height by 52mm. As such, it also offers more interior room
than the outgoing model, something mid-size cars need plenty
of to avoid being dropped down to a small car segment.
Available in two styles - a four door saloon or a five door
hatchback - the new Vectra is substantially sexier than its
predecessor. Inside, potential buyers can opt for the luxury
leather trim, satellite navigation and cruise control.
Together with larger dimensions and the new styling cues,
the Vectra is also more aerodynamic and better at damping
outside sounds than previous models. With a drag coefficient
of 0.28, it complements the sophisticated sound attenuation
measures that help drastically reduce all outside sound, including
tyre and road noise.
Not to be outdone by its Germanic counterparts, Opel has
fitted the Vectra with all sorts of useful technology. Taking
advantage of an IDS (interactive driving system), the Vectra
is surprisingly well-equipped. With electro-hydraulic power
steering, a new multi-link rear-axel and through the use of
lightweight aluminium materials, the new Vectra is aimed at
providing the driver with improved handling and and a more
Aiding the driver during poor conditions is a new active
safety feature, dubbed ESPPlus. In essence, this ESP reduces
wheelspin and loss of traction in all four wheels and is the
first time such a system has been included on the Vectra.
ESPPlus works a little differently from your more orthodox
traction control systems. Instead of applying brakes to one
rear wheel, on the inside of the corner, akin to more conventional
systems, Opel's new system can apply auto-brake force to up
to three wheels at a time, ensuring the stability corrections
are more progressive.
Other notable features include front, side and full-size
curtain head airbags as standard, an integrated electronics
system involving intelligent climate control, navigation systems,
eight-way adjustable driver and passenger seats, even an automatic
rain sensor that switches on the windscreen wipers.
A number of engines will be available to the Vectra, with
more coming in the two year lifespan planned for the car.
While the Europeans will get four engines to choose from,
the two diesel mills aren't as likely to make to the voyage
to Australia. Instead, you'll get to choose between a 1.8
and 2.2-litre Ecotec engines. There is also word of a newer
and much larger six-cylinder engine making the cut.
Update: News just in. The new
Vectra will, in fact, be available with a 3.2-litre V6, pushing
some 157kW. The V6 engine is being packaged with the 'GTS
Vectra' model in Europe and creates an astonishing 300Nm of
While the two four-cylinder engines will be great for fuel
economy, we feel Holden would be unwise not to include something
that would add a little more character. It's Euro-rivals have
the advantage of turbocharged engines, but as this isn't an
avenue Opel (and Holden) normally travels, the chances of
it happening are slim.
For a car that was the number one selling car in Europe in
the mid-car segment in 1996, 1997, and 1998, the new Vectra
has a solid base to work from and with its undeniable good
looks (which easily eclipse the previous model) Opel and Holden
could very well have found a big-seller in the mid-size market.
The 2002 Vectra will make its official premiere in March
at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show, soon after which the car will
be sold across European territories.