Vauxhall Carlton (1986 – 1994) Review

Vauxhall Carlton (1986 – 1994) At A Glance


+Honest, solid, big saloons and estates capable of high mileage. Good rear-drive handling and comfortable ride

-Getting old now and they look it. Baulky manual gearboxes. Lacklustre diesels. Beware of clocked cars.

The 1986 Vauxhall Carlton continued its maker's path down the aerodynamic road kicked off by the 1984 Astra. Underneath its super-slippery bodywork - with its Audi-beating Cd by 0.28 - the engineering was quite similar to the outgoing model. The engine range was wider than before - it spanned 1.8- to 3.0-litre petrols, and an insipid 2.3-litre diesel, which is best avoided, assuming any survive today.

Although the previous facelifted Carlton proved an unexpected hit during the early 1980s, the all-new model of 1986's sales tailed off after an early fast start - most likely down to a lack of glamour compared with the ascendent Rover 800, and the increasingly good-value opposition BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz W124. Road manners were excellent, though, as were the available options. Of all the 'cooking' models, the estate versions probably made the most sense - both stylish and commodious.