2003 Vauxhall Vectra 1.8i 16v LPG – 227148 Miles
When his petrol-engined first-generation Vauxhall Vectra estate started to show its age back in 2009, Cheltenham-based taxi driver Andy Boyd started looking for a replacement. That car had served him very well, but Andy wasn’t set on buying another Vectra – or necessarily sticking with Vauxhall.
Says Andy: “I had a completely open mind as to what to buy. A second Vauxhall would do fine, but another mainstream family car could just as easily have fitted the bill. As a taxi driver my priorities are reliability, usability and low running costs – and it’s fair to say that both of my Vectras have ticked every box, comprehensively”. Andy continues: “A friend offered it to me as he was changing his car. He’d been offered £1,800 as a trade-in and said that if I could match that figure the car was mine. As a dual-fuel Vectra, this was a car officially converted by Vauxhall, so I didn’t have to worry about the standard of the work done. I also knew that in the area that I live and work, there are several garages that sell LPG, so I would be able to fill up easily”.
When Andy bought his Vectra, it had covered just over 100,000 miles. Since then the odometer has moved up to more than 227,000 miles with no sign of the car needing anything more than consumables – a fresh cam belt and routine servicing. Because the LPG fuel tank sits in the spare wheel well, the spare wheel has been relegated to the boot. But unless Andy is on an airport run, he rarely needs to travel without the spare, because it doesn’t eat into the boot space enough to be an issue.
Andy comments: “The Vectra has been the perfect car for me because it’s never let me down and costs very little to run. The tank holds about £22-worth of liquid petroleum gas which gives me about 210 miles on the motorway, or 160 miles around town. Of course I could also use the petrol tank to get a 500-mile range, but I don’t need to as there are plenty of garages selling LPG around the UK”. He adds: “I was speaking to a mechanic friend recently and he asked me if I have to put in more oil than LPG, as these Vectras have a reputation for needing to be regularly topped up. But my car doesn’t burn any oil at all – it’s rare that I need to add any between services. I’m really impressed with the car, as you’d expect, but I know I can’t keep it forever because as a taxi driver there are rules in terms of how old my car can be, and how many miles it has covered. The problem is I don’t know what to replace it with. I can’t see me finding anything as cheap to buy, as frugal to run, or as reliable as my Vectra. Maybe I’ll just have to try to find a lower-mileage version of the car I’ve already got”.