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The Agila may have appealed to few people of working age, but in many ways it's a car that makes a lot of sense - especially as a used buy. In reality this is little more than a rebadged Suzuki Wagon-R, with Vauxhall's own engines - but not necessarily any the worse for that. With a spacious cabin, strong reliability, easy entry and exit plus a Vauxhall dealer in every town, the Agila is an easy car to own.
Considering how capable its successor is, the fourth-generation Astra is something of a letdown. Bland inside and out, the car is also dull to drive. But the Mk4 Astra is cheap, plentiful and there's plenty of choice in terms of engines and bodystyles. The estate makes a reasonable load-lugger while the cabin of each variant is spacious - most engines are decent too. Reliability is also generally good, but there are numerous detail niggles you need to look out for.
While Vauxhall's small family car was always outclassed, it has plenty to offer for those who care more about value than image or pin-sharp dynamics. So while there may not be much of a feel-good factor on offer from the Astra, a massive range of engines, trim levels and body styles ensure there's plenty of choice, prices are low, and so are running costs.
Cheap, plentiful and easy (if unrewarding) to drive. Such characteristics make the Corsa a compelling used buy, and when you throw in low running costs (thanks in part to 20,000-mile service intervals), it gets even better. It's a fleet favourite so there are plenty around too - but beware of buying abused courtesy or hire cars.
With so many really capable and usable SUVs having been available for years now, the poor old Frontera has had a pretty rough ride. Crude in its design and execution, there's no doubt that many rivals are more accomplished, but if you can buy a Frontera at the right price, it does have plenty to offer if you want to go off roading. If you're going to stick to the Tarmac though, you're generally better off looking elsewhere.
If you're a firm believer in the old adage that there's no substitute for cubic inches, you'll love the Monaro. With its V8 up front that displaces 5.7 or 6.0 litres, this is a full-on muscle car for the 21st century. Discreet, fast, reliable and cheap to buy, the Monaro can also be tuned very easily, if the entry-level 329bhp isn't enough for you. Just make sure your OPEC subs are up to date before you buy one.
You need to check carefully before buying any used car, but nowhere is this more true than when considering an Omega. Some cars give years of high-mileage faithful service while others are a complete nightmare to own because they're so riddled with problems. Find a good one and you'll never look back - especially if it's one of the ultra-capacious estates.
Vauxhall's replacement for the Omega was based on the Vectra, so it didn't win many fans as it was seen as an overpriced family hatch rather than a distinct model worth a premium. That's good news for used buyers; the Signum's lack of visibility has ensured that residuals are less than rock solid. However, with a high specification, practicality galore and a decent choice of engines, the Signum has a lot to offer.
Baby coupé-cabriolets often end up as something of a joke - you've only got to look at the Mitsubishi Colt CZC and Nissan Micra CC for the proof. Some work better than others though, like Vauxhall's Tigra for example. Quick enough, reasonably well packaged and decent to drive with the roof up, things only go awry dynamically when the roof is dropped - which kind of defeats the object really.
If you're after cheap practical transport the Vectra is well worth a look, although it won't float the boat of an enthusiast driver. Reliability is okay, as are the dynamics, but bland interior and exterior design do the Vectra no favours. However the estate is truly capacious and the CDTi engines are excellent - but the earlier Di units are gruff.
Built on the same production line as its Elise cousin, the Vauxhall VX220 never enjoyed the same cachet as the Lotus, thanks to the Griffin on the nose. Yet not only is the VX220 more usable in some ways, it also offers just as great a drive while also being more affordable. The VX220 shared just 10 per cent of its components with the Elise, but it offered every bit as much fun.
Vauxhall wasn't the first to market a compact MPV, but the Zafira was the first to be truly innovative when it came to interior flexibility. Seven seats were shoehorned into the Astra-based car, but you can make the third row of seats disappear if you want luggage capacity. The driving experience isn't all that great, but the Zafira's safe chassis is just the ticket for undemanding drivers - even if the ride isn't as accomplished as it ought to be.
Although Vauxhall didn't introduce the compact MPV, it did revolutionise the breed with its pop-up third row of seats. While rivals have now caught up, the second take on this compact MPV still offers brilliant family transport thanks to low purchase and running costs, and in most cases decent reliability too, especially in petrol-engined form. Throw in surprisingly good dynamics plus lots of choice, and you've got ideal family transport.