The Holden Vectra was built by Holden, the Australian subsidiary of American carmaker General Motors (GM). The Opel-designed Vectra is a large family car, which also appeared in Latin America under the name 'Chevrolet Vectra'.
In Australia, some models of the Vectra were assembled by Holden and adjusted to suit Australian taste and driving conditions better. First imported to Australia in 1997, it came as a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. Holden would eventually add a five-door station wagon to this lineup as well.
The Holden Vectra lasted for two generations. The first generation (1997-2003) was primarily based on the second-generation Opel Vectra, known as the Vectra B. The following generation (2003-2005) was based on the Opel Vectra C, again customised to fit the Australian market.
First Generation (1997-2003)
The first-generation Holden Vectra came in two variants: the GL base model and the more upmarket CD model.
The GL model came packed with features that were pretty impressive for a base model car in the late '90s. It had a driver-side airbag, AM/FM radio, and cloth trim. The upmarket CD model, on the other hand, threw in air-conditioning, cruise control, a trip computer, power windows, and alloy wheels as well.
Both models came standard with disc brakes and ABS, complemented with MacPherson struts at the front end. At the same time, the rear had a multilink independent rear setup.
Holden chose to use only two of Opel's many engines to power these two variants. The GL base model carried a 2.0-litre double overhead camshaft fuel-injected four-cylinder unit which produced 100 kW of power and 188 Nm of torque. For the upmarket CD model, Holden put in a 2.5-litre overhead camshaft fuel-injected V6 engine with a higher output of 125 kW with 230 Nm torque.
The first generation came with transmission options of five-speed manual and a four-speed auto.
Second Generation (2003-2005)
The second generation of the Holden Vectra saw the car become much larger. On the outside, it was half a size bigger while the inside is claimed to be a full size more prominent than the previous generation. This upsizing was brought by the car's redesign, which improved on the utilisation of internal space.
The base model for the second generation had a lightweight aluminium engine with an output of 108 kW of power and 203 Nm of torque. On the higher end model, the car carried a 3.2-litre DOHC V6 engine. This one had an output of 155 kW and more torque than before, maxing out at 300 Nm. These models had transmissions of five-speed manual and a five-speed auto as well.
This generation of the Holden Vectra even saw some relatively high-tech features like drive-by-wire systems and onboard diagnostics computers. For the interior, models came with wood-grain capping and a velour trim as well.
The inside was also much more comfortable for the driver. Seats could be adjusted eight different ways, while the steering wheel reach and rake could also be moved to whatever position the driver preferred. Combining all of that with a sliding centre armrest, the driver could make the car fit his or her style. Higher-end models included some over-the-top features like sports seats with heated leather and climate control in two different zones. To top it all off, they even came with a glove box that was refrigerated and satin chrome instruments.
The higher-end 3.2-litre V6 CDXi trim was the sportier one of the bunch with features like 17-inch low-profile tyres, rear spoiler, sports bumpers all around, supported by a sports suspension and performance exhaust.
The price of the Holden Vectra kept on going upwards, which discouraged sales. Holden tried to cut its price to revive sales between 2004 and 2005, but it proved futile, prompting Holden to discontinue the Vectra in 2006.