Vectra Sets New Standard For Market Segment | Part Two

Diesel Engines There is a choice of two turbodiesel engines – the 2.0 and 2.2 litre DTi units - with different outputs but both with direct injection and charge air cooling. Common features also include four-valve technology driven by a single overhead camshaft. The 2.2-litre diesel can be chosen in conjunction with the new five-speed auto with a tiptronic type function. The direct-injection turbodiesel complies with Euro 3.

2.0 DTi / 100 PS. Maximum engine torque is 230 Nm @ 1500 rpm. From standstill to 60 mph takes 12.5 seconds and its top speed is 120 mph.

2.2 DTi / 125 PS. The turbocharger of the 2.2 is notable for its variable turbine geometry, to achieve strong engine torque across all engine speeds. Maximum engine torque is 280 Nm @ 1500 rpm. With a top speed of 128 mph, the 2.2 DTi 0-60 mph time is 10.5 seconds.

Modified Manual And New Five-Speed Auto

An all-new five-speed automatic gearbox is available in combination with the 2.2 16v and 3.2 V6 petrol engines and the 2.2 DTi.

The key feature of the new auto is that it works adaptively - it recognises the driver’s style and adapts accordingly. And if the driver is in the mood for manual shifts, this is also possible with the Active Select function.

A new cable shift has been developed for the five-speed manual gearbox, designed to reduce vibration from the engine, and is also lighter. The hydraulic clutch activation has been improved further in terms of its comfort and weight.

Driving Dynamics

Vauxhall’s Interactive Driving System, a complex electronic management system which works by connecting the control and safety functions of the individual chassis components, makes its debut on new Vectra.

The mechanical basis of the chassis uses an improved MacPherson strut axle at the front while the rear uses re-designed four link independent suspension.

IDS incorporates a number of electronic functions, including map-controlled electrohydraulic steering, the electro­nic braking functions ABS, EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution) and CBC (Cornering Brake Control) and TC Plus (Traction Control)*. Brake Assist is also part of the IDS.

The latest-generation electronic stability programme called ESPPlus is standard on the Elite and GSi in the UK, and optional on other models.

New Vectra uses performance map-controlled steering with electrohydraulic drive – a first for this segment. Low speed manoeuvres require only a low effort and as the speed increases, steering support is taken away to ensure good steering ‘feel’.

Electrical Equipment And Electronics

One of the hallmarks of the new Vectra is a host of innovations and future technologies - the most important of which include its powerful electronics.

Canbus data highways connect specific groups of electrical components, enabling the length and weight of the car’s wiring harness to be considerably reduced.

With more than 30 sensors, the Vectra is also one of the most ‘sensitive’ cars in its category, collecting and processing huge amounts of information – from the air pressure in the tyres to monitoring the atmosphere for the climate control.

Attention To Comfort Detail

Much thought has gone into many of the everyday functions to make living with the new Vectra a pleasure.

So, for example, electric motors are used for the closing mechanisms for doors and tailgate to reduce noise; when the car is unlocked by remote control the interior light and reading lamps are illuminated and the instrument and switch lighting is activated; the information display has an automatic day and night conversion function so it can be read with ease.

The insides of all the doors have warning lights and a ‘follow-me-home’ function is also a standard feature. When switched on, the headlamps will continue to shine for 30 seconds after the car has been locked before they switch off automatically.

Electric windows have anti-trapping devices and can be opened and closed simultaneously from outside the car via remote control. And on hatch models, if the wipers are switched on with the car in reverse, the rear wiper is automatically activated.

Park distance sensors, an option, come with both front and rear distance warnings, and the interior mirror dips automatically if there is night-time dazzle.

Remote control central locking and an advanced engine immobiliser are both standard.

In-car entertainment has also benefited from the advanced technologies in the new Vectra. All units have been designed to match the high-grade dashboard design, with large controls and clear layout for simple handling. An additional speaker has been included on the upper side of the dashboard for even stronger acoustics.

Lowest Running Costs

As well as competitive pricing, owners can look forward to some of the lowest running costs in class.

Insurance ratings have been confirmed with groups starting as low as 7E. In some cases, new Vectra boasts a classification as much as four groups lower than the model it replaces, and on average, at least one group lower than the Ford Mondeo.

There is good news for fleet managers too. The latest figures from industry’s CAP Monitor show that on a three year/60,000 mile contract, a 1.8 LS has a £200 benefit over the equivalent Mondeo; a 1.8 SXi shows a £250 benefit, while the diesel powered 2.0 DTi LS Vectra can save a fleet manager £325 over the same period against its diesel Ford rival.

Published 28 October 2002 Melanie Carter

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