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Third generation Vectra revealed

There's more coming: The Vectra provides hints of future design directions.

Holden's new mid-sizer will be here late 2002

15 Oct 2001

THESE are the first official images of the third generation Opel Vectra mid-sizer, which will go on sale here as a Holden in the last quarter of 2002.

To make its world debut at the Geneva motor show next March as a sedan and five-door hatch, the Vectra's looks point the way to future designs, the model range to be extended in the next two years with the introduction of additional "innovative" body-styles, engines and gearboxes.

One of those models is expected to be the production version of the Signum2 concept car which was shown at Frankfurt in September. The Signum, which is described in the British media as a cross-over estate-hatch, is expected to go on sale in Europe in the second quarter of 2003. A version of it could offer four-wheel drive.

The new Vectra is said to be more spacious than its predecessor, offer a comprehensive level of comfort and safety features and has a new chassis system called "IDS", or "Interactive Driving System".

It is also based on a new General Motors platform called Epsilon, which will underpin other mid-size GM vehicles like the forthcoming Saab 9-3, also due in 2002.

In Europe, the new Vectra will be launched with a variety of four-cylinder petrol and turbo-diesels engines. In Australia we are likely to take a 108kW 2.2-litre four-cylinder and a 127kW 2.6-litre. A 3.2-litre V6 could also be available.

A five-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift function is also available for the first time on the Vectra.

The all-new IDS chassis system features a new multi-link rear axle and electro-hydraulic power steering with aluminium components for reduced unsprung weight, General Motors claiming this provides significantly improved handling and ride comfort.

A new electronic stability programme called ESP-Plus is also making its debut in the new Vectra.

Lightweight materials such as aluminium, magnesium, and high-strength, bake-hardened steel have been used in the body of the new Vectra in an effort to improve stability, safety, comfort and quality.

With a longer wheelbase (plus 60mm), wider track (plus 52mm front and plus 48mm rear) and a higher roof (plus 36mm), the new model offers significantly more interior space than its predecessor. GM also claims it is quieter at least partially because of its sleek 0.28 aerodynamic Cd figure.

Comfort features include a new integrated electronics system, intelligent Electronic Climate Control with air quality sensor, a wide range of communication and entertainment systems, eight-way adjustable front seats, rain sensor and park-pilot.

Passive safety equipment includes front, side and full-size curtain airbags, a pedal release system and improved active head restraints for protection from whiplash injuries.

In Australia mid-size car sales are being squeezed from below by small cars and above by family cars. To combat this, Holden plans to take the new Vectra upmarket and sell it against European marques, with the V6 variants expected to account for more sales than four-cylinders.

Strong sales of the current generation up-specification CD V6 sedan and hatch have encouraged Holden to take this tack with the new car.

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