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Bold new look for Vectra
Holden's next generation Vectra will sport a radical new look and feature a host of technical innovations
11 Nov 1999
HOLDEN'S next generation Vectra, due in late 2002 or early 2003, is expected to embrace dramatic new styling that will set the car apart from rival contenders in the segment.
The bold new look will be accompanied by major advances in refinement, packaging and build quality.
Among the key elements of the new design will be large angular headlights vaguely reminiscent of the current Honda Prelude.
It may also draw styling cues from the G90 concept car recently displayed by General Motors at various European motor shows.
As is the case with the current model, the next generation Vectra will be available in both sedan and hatchback configurations.
A sporty station wagon variant that will compete in Europe against BMW's 3 Series Touring is also being developed.
A number of engine options will be offered in Europe but Australian spec Vectra sedans are likely to be powered by an updated version of the current 2.2-litre, four-cylinder powerplant.
The 2.5-litre V6 currently available in the hatchback is tipped to jump in capacity to 2.6 litres.
But the big news is the anticipated availability of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) - a system being embraced by a growing number of manufacturers.
The CVT is expected to appeal to buyers seeking the convenience of an automatic yet not willing to sacrifice the performance and economy benefits of a manual gearbox.
The next generation Vectra will be based on General Motors' new Epsilon platform, which will be the basis for all GM's future front-wheel drive cars.
Although similar in dimensions to the current Vectra, the newcomer will offer increased interior space with safety levels benefiting from "head" and side airbags, in addition to the front airbags offered presently.
Voice-activated controls for the stereo and navigation system will also be available.
Radar-controlled automatic braking will ensure a safe distance is maintained to the vehicle in front. The technology was pioneered in the Mercedes-Benz S-class launched earlier this year.
The Vectra has been a moderately successful car for Holden with just over 8000 sold in 1998 and a similar number until the end of October this year.
Depending on market shifts over the next three years, the new Vectra could build on the segment share established by the current car.
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