Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

Major changes for the 2005 Vectra include an upgraded 2.2 direct injection petrol engine with better fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions, a more powerful 3.0 CDTi V6 diesel and a new 2.8 V6 turbocharged engine to replace the normally aspirated 3.2 V6. The V6 diesel now produces 184bhp and 295lb-ft – up from 176bhp and 273lb-ft. The entry-level diesel is now the 120bhp 1.9 CDTi, with a higher-power 150bhp version splitting the two.

Only a cumbersome manual gearchange comes between the driver and a perfectly smooth performance. From 2006 the 1.8 petrol engine was revised to give a more powerful 138bhp, giving the Vectra an advantage over the entry-level Mondeo.

The Vectra is second to none on the motorway and its smooth and relaxing ride quality is one of the reasons it is so popular on company car fleets. But chief rival, the Ford Mondeo, has always been praised for its comparatively entertaining driving manners. Subtle changes to the Vectra’s steering and suspension mean that it now feels more alert off the motorway, although the Mondeo and Mazda6 still edge ahead for enthusiastic drivers.

SRi versions have a firmer suspension set up than base models while the VXR version (covered in a separate review) is sportier still.