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Vauxhall Calibra (1989 - 1998)

Last updated 4 August 2016


Buying Guide


  • Good-looking, practical Cavalier-based four-seater coupe with a big, golf-bag-sized boot.
  • Some good engines in the line-up.
  • Some very fast, very powerful cars such as 201bhp six-speed 4x4 turbo.
  • Some nice trim combinations. 168bhp 2.5 V6s with leather and white instruments on 'R' plates can represent a lot of coupe for the money.
  • Usefully, had a lever behind the headlights to switch from left dip to right dip for continental driving (explained in the driver's manual). 
  • Vauxhalls generally had below average warranty repair costs in 2003 Warranty Direct Reliability index (index 84.4 v/s lowest 31.93). Link:-


  • Hard to see out of and very difficult to reverse.
  • Though they handle better than the Cavalier they still suffer from understeering limitations.
  • Front-drive Calibras will always come off the road front-first.


  • In days gone by, ex-Vauxhall Masterhire cars previously on service contracts came with trustworthy print-out of full service history, including cambelt changes every 36,000-40,000 miles.
  • Bulkhead may crack around steering rack mountings. Listen for steering creaks and look for cracks around steering rack bulkhead mounting points, a £700 job to repair. Abbot Racing of Spinnels Farm, Manningtree (tel: 01255 870636) have a means of mounting the rack more rigidly, and also replacing the soft rubber suspension bushes which not only solves the problem but makes the car steer and handle much better.
  • Six-speed gearbox on 4x4 turbo fails and costs a fortune to replace.
  • On 2.0 litre 16v models a problem can develop with the idle adjustor control valve necessitating replacement and modifying by the fitting of an oil separator.
  • Plug leads deteriorate and are ridiculously expensive to replace.
  • Timing belts on 4 cylinder 16v engines also drive the water pump which can shed its impeller blades and seize, throwing off the belt, so best to change water pump too.
  • Tensioner bolt which passes through oil pump also prone to fracture, leving belt untensioned and apt to fly off.
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