1 Jun 1997
The Holden Vectra was the third (and final) generation of mid-sized front-wheel drive General Motors “J-cars” that dated back to the 1982 JB Camira.
This fact may be lost on some people because Holden chose the 1989 Toyota Camry-cloned JK Apollo over the second generation 1988-1995 Opel Vectra – although a variation did arrive here as the 1991-1998 YE Calibra.
When the Holden Vectra did finally debut in mid-’97 it enjoyed the sort of critical and commercial success unknown by its Apollo predecessors, despite being widely debased in Europe.
The secret of the Holden version’s success was in the tuning as well as the timing.
Its engineers wrought a number of improvements to the handling and ride that transformed the car (and which were then incorporated in the Euro Vectra), just as Holden’s star was on a VT Commodore-fuelled ascension. Plus buyers responded to the Vectra’s handsome styling.
Initially a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback were imported from Belgium, powered by a locally made 100kW/185Nm 2.0-litre twin-cam 16-valve Family II four-cylinder engine, while the hatch also offered a 125kW/230Nm 2.5-litre V6.
The more expensive CD version added a passenger airbag, cruise control, fog light, traction control, trip computer and power windows to the GL’s standard driver’s airbag, central locking, power steering, power mirrors and traction control system.