Yes, ladies, ladies, gentlemen, and everything in between, the legendary Opel Vectra B enters the AlmostCars ring.
Originally I wasn’t planning to write about the Opel Vectra B, but since I had so many requests for the Opel Astra G I figured out why not. That leaves writing about Saab and I can die in peace. But until then, the Vectra B just won’t leave me alone.
Launched around 1995 and repaired around 1998, the Opel Vectra B was a special car in the hearts of the bri’ish. Especially in the hearts of bri’ish who didn’t have the money for a Passat so they decided to go for the Vectra. In fact, by 2010 the Opel Vectra B was the official car of long-haul drivers on national and international routes until the Passat B6 got cheap enough to become the official carriage of people who order pork chops and fries wherever they go. People who complain that they sleep better in the cabin than at the lodge, and actually mean that they’d rather keep the per diem and sleep in the cabin than spend money on proper accommodation.
But the years have passed and the old Vectra B has crawled from no oil change to the next no oil change and is now another genuine contender in the “500 – 1000 euro” category. I said it’s hard to beat the Astra G in this price category, and the Vectra B is definitely not a genuine competitor. Yes, you can find many for 200 pounds, but the Vectra is a bigger car with bigger engines and more expensive maintenance. Plus it’s not as reliable as the Astra. In any case, I have to admit that for 150 pounds you do get a lot of car. And if you get a hatchback or station wagon version, you can say you got a studio on wheels for the price of 1-2 week’s rent. And with a rented apartment you certainly can’t stroll at night on the boulevard. Well, even with an Opel Vectra B you won’t impress anyone if you drive around at night, but you get the idea.
And that’s how the Vectra B became a real enemy for the Ford Mondeo II, Opel Zamfira A, VW Transporter T4, and other cars you buy on the principle “let’s make it for everyone”. Naturally, this attracted the evergreen buyer of the genre. He lives in the countryside. For him, if he’s transporting relatives or chickens by car, the difference between them is none, preferably at the same time. He has a wool vest and a shirt with a breast pocket. In that pocket, he usually has a packet of Winchester. He goes to church every Sunday and respectfully takes off his cap when he enters the church. Every September he goes out and picks grapes so he has something to give to his children and guests.
Opel Vectra B Engines
- 1.6 MPI of 75 and 101 horsepower – The 101 horsepower (or 100 horsepower per the ads) is part of the first generation EcoTec and is probably the cheapest engine in terms of maintenance. I say that because it’s a naturally aspirated petrol but also because most ads also have an LPG installed.
- 1.8 MPI of 116 and 125 horsepower – The 125 horsepower petrol is really a sensation. I find it by far the most fun engine on the Vectra B and it also keeps the expenses at a civilized level.
- 2.0 MPI of 136 horsepower – This engine splits its bollocks the way freshmen split their necks when they look after 12th-grade girls. Otherwise, it’s another solid, old-fashioned engine.
- 2.2 MPI of 147 horsepower – You’ve got 500 euros in your pocket, and the tax on this engine costs 200 euros. Imagine what the rest of the car is worth.
- 2.5 V6 of 170 and 195 horsepower – You’d think a Vectra B with a 2.5 V6 petrol engine would be a worse idea than Boris Johnson’s run for monarchy in 2024. And you’d be wrong. Apart from the PCV valve and camshaft sensors, you really have no issues with this engine. Just typical wear and tear on a 20-year-old engine.
- 2.6 V6 of 170 horsepower – Same 2.5 V6 but with slightly bigger pants. Good luck finding one instead.
- 1.7 TD of 82 horsepower – Eh. The slowest diesel on the Vectra B and it’s Vauxhall’s own recipe, we haven’t yet reached the Isuzu diesels that made waves on the Astra H.
- 2.0 DI of 82 horsepower – Neither this one. What’s slower than an old turbodiesel? An old diesel. No turbo. Or reliability.
- 2.0 DTI of 101 horsepower – I’d recommend it, but the diesel pump and EGR issues make me hesitate. Not to say otherwise, but those two parts + labor cost more than a Vectra B in 2020.
Opel Vectra B General Issues
- Even though it doesn’t happen much in Opel, the Vectra B is the rural rust champion. It’s not quite VW, Mercedes, or Mazda rust champion, but you have to check the car carefully. That is if you care and really expect a 500 euro, 20-year-old Vectra to be rust-free.
- The rearview mirrors are there to take your eyes, your money, and your visibility. Take it for a test drive and make sure you can see something through those mirrors.
- Petrol engines have it written large in the manual that “a consumption of up to 0.6 liters of oil per 1000 km is within the parameters given by the manufacturer”. Some kind of VW proto-TSI, the petrols on the Vectra B consume oil the same way a corporate beer guzzler consumes beer at the weekend to vent all his frustrations and meetings.
- And while we’re on the subject of gasoline engine consumption habits, initially Opel said that the timing is changed at 120,000 km. Then they changed the interval to 60,000 km after they got enough complaints from customers about how much they were running out of engine in the car. Oh yeah, if you’re going to change the timing, change the water pump too. Don’t be the epidermis of the male genitalia.
- Diesel engines aren’t any more reliable either and you’ll have to carry an spare ECU in the boot all the time.
Opel Vectra B Verdict
It’s not the success that was the Vectra C and it’s not the disaster that was the Insignia B. But I’m not going to talk about Vectra B as a contribution to the automotive world because I’m not that dedicated. I’m going to talk about its contribution to the car world in 2020 when you can buy it for 200 euros with valid papers. But is it worth it? If your car expectations are zero and your budget also tends that way, if you want the cheapest transportation and that’s your only criteria, probably yes. Although if I had to choose between Astra G and Vectra B, I’d probably go for Astra G.
Which engines do I recommend? Normally I would recommend the 1.6 + LPG petrol or the 1.8 + LPG. But I seem to be doing a trick and recommending the 2.5 V6 and 170 horsepower petrol as well. After all, we have just one life and one hole in the bum.