1 Mar 2003
Holden’s first Vectra generation (the ’97-’02 JR/JS series, which dated back two earlier generations to the 1982 Camira) proved popular because it was compact, stylish, affordable and obviously European. Its successor was the much larger ZC.
Made in Belgium as all pre-’98 and post-2000 Vectra models were, the attractive wagon went AWOL, leaving two very square and awkward shapes – a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback.
Holden was also forced to price these Euro mid-sizers well into Commodore territory, so it’s no surprise that Vectra buyers vanished spectacularly.
Yet underneath that geometric German exterior lay a much improved vehicle.
Handling, steering, ride, comfort, space, refinement, equipment and quality levels skyrocketed, while a 108kW/203Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine provided plenty of poke.
Better still was the new 155kW/300Nm 3.2 V6, a smooth yet punchy unit that greatly helped justify the $50,000-plus pricing of the luxuriously appointed CDXi.
From early 2004 Holden slashed prices, improved the base CD and mid-range CDX specification levels and promoted the Vectra heavily. But buyers were more interested in the sexier Mazda6, sensational Honda Accord Euro and improved Subaru Liberty Mk4 range.
The much improved VZ Commodore hasn’t helped either.