Vauxhall’s spacious new Vectra Estate will be the final addition to the Vectra family when it goes on sale at the end of November. Vauxhall has a proud estate history, having produced some highly successful models over the past 50 years. The stylish new Vectra Estate brings the tradition bang up to date with its class leading luggage space, refinement, wide engine choice and clever packaging through features such as FlexOrganiser.

Technical highlights of the new model include a power tail-gate, retractable tow-bar and the Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) system.

A wide range of models and engines will be available when it goes on sale at the end of November from the entry level 1.8 16v LS to the range topping 3.2 litre V6 Elite. Vauxhall’s new 3.0 V6 CDTi common rail diesel features on two models, while other recently introduced engines, the 2.2 16v Direct and 2.0 Turbo petrol units, are both also available in the Estate.

Because the Vectra Estate shares its wheelbase dimensions with the Vauxhall Signum, interior space for passengers is generous.

Modifications have been made to the chassis of the Estate to compensate for its extra length and wheelbase over the hatchback.

The Estate is expected to account for around 15% of all Vectras sold and will be built at one of the most advanced car plants in Europe at Russelsheim, Germany.

Clever - interior space and FlexOrganiser

In the new Vectra Estate, Vauxhall has deliberately designed a car which is as much about practicality and versatility as it is about "lifestyle".

The interior space is a key strength. A 2.83 metre wheelbase contributes to generous amounts of space for driver and passengers as well as a now class-leading area for luggage – between 530 and 1850 cubic litres.

Such is the Vectra’s capaciousness that it compares favourably to the executive segment Omega (itself renowned for its luggage and passenger space) despite being 76mm shorter overall.

With a wheelbase 100mm longer than Omega, the Vectra can boast 50mm more rear legroom and 45mm more knee clearance. With the rear seats folded down, the Vectra’s boot capacity of 1850 litres is also 50 litres greater than the Omega and a massive 150 litres greater than the Ford Mondeo.

Seated in the rear, passengers get 96mm of knee-room in an interior where the total length is 1832mm. Maximum load length up to the front seats is over two metres (2046mm) and with the front passenger seat folded down the maximum load length is 2.87 metres.

The 2/3 split-fold rear seat also features a load-through hatch.

Of course, a new family Vauxhall would not be complete without some fresh thinking in the areas of practicality and versatility. With the Vectra Estate, Vauxhall has continued with the "Flex" theme, and so joining Flex7 (Zafira) and FlexSpace (Meriva) is FlexOrganiser, a system designed to create versatile and orderly load carrying.

With FlexOrganiser, the contents of supermarket shopping which has been strewn across the entire luggage area or heavy items falling onto delicate ones has now become a thing of the past….

FlexOrganiser is based on upper and lower parallel rails which run along each of the sidewalls in the luggage area up to the back of the rear seats. Onto these rails can be attached various dividers, poles or hooks and in various configurations so creating different sized compartments for different types of cargo.

The system is available in two versions – the Organiser pack or the Divider pack. The Organiser pack consists of two differently shaped nets and four hooks while the Divider pack consists of a load divider, a divider tube and two hooks. Each will be available individually as an option or as an accessory through Vauxhall dealers.

Vectra Estate’s versatility doesn’t end on the inside. Externally two new features, which will both be available from next spring, should make life with the new model even easier.

The first of these is a powered tail-gate which can be operated from one of three places – from the key-fob, from a button inside the cabin or a separate switch underneath the number plate. A key safety feature of the tail-gate is a sensor which will stop it automatically if any movements around it are detected. The power tail-gate will be available as an option on all models next year.

And whether you are taking the boat out for the weekend or just taking the garden rubbish down to the tip in the trailer, a retractable tow-bar will be a welcome addition. This is a tow-bar which can be easily and safely stored out of sight, horizontally behind the rear bumper. The bar is released by using a simple release mechanism from inside the boot, so can be operated without getting the hands dirty!

Adaptive Forward Lighting

Vauxhall is the first manufacturer to offer the Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) system in this segment. AFL is a technology which combines ‘dynamic’ curve lighting when negotiating narrow bends and static ‘junction’ light when at junctions, to give a wider range of vision in the dark.

A third safety function of AFL is the highway or motorway light; at motorway speeds and when travelling in a constant straight direction, the headlights will automatically raise themselves so the driver has the perfect long distance view ahead. At the same time the automatic levelling system prevents any dazzling of oncoming traffic.

Exterior design

With its long wheelbase, high belt line and relatively short overhangs the Vectra Estate looks elegant and proportionately well-balanced. At 4822mm in length, it is approximately 226mm longer than the Vectra hatchback, though they share the same width.

A 2830mm wheelbase however gives it 130mm more space between the axles.

From the side, accentuated wheel arches and the large wheels – available in up to eighteen inch diameter – give the Estate a powerful profile, while at the rear the car is distinctive with its widely placed tail-lights.

Refinement – engines and chassis

Refinement, one of the hallmarks of the Vectra Estate, is emphasised through a number of the new engines. From launch there is a healthy choice of seven engines from which to choose – four petrol and three diesel with power from 100 to 211 hp – and while one or two may be familiar, there are several new or recent additions.

Highlights of the engine line-up are the 3.0 V6 CDTi common rail diesel, the new 2.2 16v Direct petrol (both of which feature in Signum) and the 2.0 16v Turbo which has just been introduced in the Vectra SRi hatchback.

The flagship 3.0 V6 CDTi ECOTEC turbo-diesel uses the latest generation common rail direct injection and an all alloy block. The six-cylinder engine with 3.0 litres displacement delivers its 177 hp at 4000rpm and produces massive amounts of torque (370Nm between 1900 and 2800rpm) which makes for spectacularly easy cruising and safe, efficient in-gear overtaking ability.

Performance figures for the Estate using the biggest of the diesel offerings are therefore impressive with a 0 – 60mph time of 9.2 seconds. On a combined fuel cycle, an average of 38.7mpg is returned.

The 3.0 V6 CDTi engine will be available in the SRi and Elite models.

Similar refinement and performance are achieved from the 2.0 Turbo petrol engine. Based on the proven 2.2 ECOTEC aluminium engine introduced three years ago, the newer smaller 2.0 16v produces 175 hp and 265Nm torque courtesy of low pressure turbo charging.

Fitted in the Vectra Estate, 0-60mph takes just 9.0 seconds while the combined fuel consumption is 30.7mpg. Customers opting for the 2.0 Turbo can choose from SXi, Elegance, SRi and Elite models.

For those who prefer their engine power ‘normally aspirated’, the third new engine and another descendant of GM’s aluminium generation is the 2.2 litre 16v Direct. The
2.2 DIRECT ECOTEC is the first direct-injection petrol engine from Vauxhall, and it produces a healthy 155 hp.

A key characteristic of this engine is its responsiveness to throttle openings with the additional benefits of direct injection being the savings on fuel (around 6 per cent ) and producing more torque (around 10 per cent) than a comparable engine with conventional, inlet manifold injection.

And from next spring, the Vectra Estate will get Vauxhall’s first diesel engine to be equipped with a maintenance free diesel particulate filter (DPF). The newly developed
1.9 CDTi with 150 hp requires no additives and will comply with the Euro 4 emissions legislation.

The remainder of the engines are existing to the Vectra range, a 122 hp 1.8 litre 16v petrol and the 2.0 DTi and 2.2Dti turbo-charged diesels producing 100 and 125 hp respectively.

Gearboxes in five and six speeds

Depending on the engine choice, the Vectra Estate comes with either a five or six-speed manual gearbox, a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) or full auto.

The new six-speeder is coupled to the 3.0 V6 CDTi ECOTEC, the 1.9 CDTi when it becomes available next year and the 2.0 litre turbo petrol. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard with the 2.2 Direct.

An adaptive five-speed automatic is available with the 2.2 Direct, 2.2 DTi, 3.2 V6 and 3.0 CDTi. Also from launch, the 1.8 16v petrol engine can be combined with CVTronic.

Chassis – a development of IDS

Vectra Estate uses a modified version of the Interactive Driving System (IDS) as its underpinnings, a system which first appeared in the new Vectra last year.

The Estate uses MacPherson strut front suspension with a hydro-formed sub frame and sophisticated four-link rear axle, both with aluminium components.

Sophisticated electronics of the IDS controls the ABS, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), a brake assistant, electronic force braking distribution (EVB) and TCPlus traction control.

Based on its long wheelbase, the Vectra Estate offers a refined and stable ride, while the chassis has been tuned specifically to provide agile handling for a car of its size.

The latest generation ESPPlus electronic stability program features on V6 models.

Model range and equipment

The full Vectra Estate model line-up closely reflects that of the Vectra hatchback, the main difference being the omission of a GSi version.

Starting with the entry level Expression, the range progresses through LS, Club, SXi, Elegance, SRI and Elite badged variants.

Standard equipment on all cars includes a comprehensive array of comfort and safety kit including: air conditioning, electric front windows, central locking with remote control, full-size front and side airbags, full-size head curtain airbags front and rear, ABS, steering adjust for reach and rake, active head restraints for the front seats,

CD player, electric door mirrors and remote control security alarm.

The options list also provides plenty of choice and will include such items as electric folding mirrors, parking sensors, the latest Electronic Stability Program (standard on V6 engines), roof rails, power tail-gate, 18 inch alloys wheels, Travel Assistant and of course AFL.