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We have owned many cars and many sporty orientated cars.
A calibra was ont he list of cars we wanted to own so when one came up at a good price we grabbed it.
We bought a SE7 model which featured a creme leather interior which even now i miss and it also featured white dials all standard on this special edition version.
The car was good to us with a nice strong ecotec engine,not the fastest but nippy enough to keep you happy and was a nice engine to drive with power there when ever it was needed,and offered great mpg on all its runs long or short.
Looks are fesh still and even now still stand well against new cars.
Room wise the cars are very roomy on the inside for front and rear passengers and a large boot space.
Driving is nice,in fact one of the best cars we have owned in some ways,turning is easy with a good turn on the wheel.It is easy to reverse with plenty of views at good angles.
Overall a good car to which we would own one again.
My father has had a blue Vauxhall Calibra for many years now, and yes the calibre is a very nice car to look at, with its cream leather interior and sleek shape, it's a lovely car.
Although my dad seems to have nothing but trouble with his Calibra, it seems as though it's constantly in and out of the garage having more work done to it. With the main problem being it completely cuts out when the car is slowing down.
Another problem occurs while at the car wash, even with the windows fully closed water still manages to get in, and when it rains the boot always ends up soaking wet.
When my dad first purchased this car it was his pride and joy, he was constantly cleaning it, he even bought 18inch alloy wheels and a scorpion exhaust for it, now he feels that all the money he has spent on it is wasted as its costing him more money each week to get something different fixed.
Lastly I will say, this has only been the experience my dad has had with this car, every one has their own opinion and this just happens to be ours.
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Anyone who knows me will doubtless say that I have 3 main interests : football, cars and music. I spend much of my life in my car. I go to work in my car (sometimes as much as a 2 hour journey each way). I go to football in my car (about a 150 mile round trip for home matches). I listen to music in my car. To put it simply, I need a car that gets me from A to B as quickly as possible with the minimum of fuss. It's not quite as simple as that though, I enjoy driving. A lot. By that, I don't mean that I enjoy sitting in a traffic jam on the M25, I mean that I enjoy the sensation of real driving - making brisk headway down interesting and varied country roads and blasting along costal roads in the Summer. I've had numerous cars - my first was a 1960s Mini Cooper (stolen), I've also owned a 16 Valve Citroen BX (thankfully briefly), a Cavalier 1.6 (Yawn), Nova GSi (Heavily modded and a thril a minute), two Vectras (double yawn), a Fiesta (What can go wrong will go wrong, usually at the most inconvenient time), an Escort (made of tin foil) and a 1969 Lotus Elan +2. I've always loved cars and, in particular Lotus models, hence my all too brief ownership of the +2. In 1990, I went to the London Motorshow with my Father and did a double take when I got to the Vauxhall stand. Sitting on a high pedestal was, quite simply, one of the most beautiful cars I had ever seen : A gleaming red Calibra. Everything about it was perfect - The narrow headlights, the rakish, sweeping shape, the massive (and they are huge) doors, the large alloy wheels with wide tyres. It was an amazing sight. I was in love. I swore that one day I would own one. The big problem though was my age - I was an 18 year old and insurance companies don't like putting large and powerful sports coupes in the hands of boy racers like myself. I put up with my boring cars and figured that I would never be able to af
ford to buy one, let alone insure it. A couple of years ago, my beloved Nova went to the great scrapyard in the sky having taken me putting 100,000 miles on it in 3 years. I was fortunate that the company I was working for at the time provided me with a company car - A 2.0i 16 Valve Vectra. Then, around a year ago, I left the company and needed to buy myself a new car. I went trawling through the Parkers Guide and Autotrader looking for something suitable for not much money. I was amazed to find that I could afford an early Calibra and duly purchased an H Reg 16V model in Flame Red. The car was every bit as good as I could ever have hoped. Its road manners were superb thanks largely to the broad tyres and powerful engine. The interior was cloth trimmed and it had no stereo but the electric windows and sunroof were great and the car looked pretty good for a 120,000 miler. In February, I was able to replace the car and I purchased a 1997 P Reg SE7 in metallic navy blue. With cream leather, air conditioning, cd player and white dials, the car looks considerably more classy than my old one. The engine is slightly less powerful and the tyres not quite so wide but this somehow appears to have the opposite effect to that you would expect - The change in the gearing means the car has far more torgue and, if anything, seems somewhat quicker than the earlier model. The improvements to the suspension geometry have also made a huge difference. The car has far more poise on the road than the old model and suffers far less body roll. The only complaint would be the Grundig CD player supplied - It is not at all impressive and the sound generated is flat to the extreme. I have now replaced the standard unit with a Kenwood unit which is great. I have twin stepsons who are 12 years old and they both love the car - There is plenty of room in the rear for them and their multitudinous handheld ga
me consoles. The boot is spacious, even when compared to some family saloon cars (The four of us went away for a week in the old one last year without any problems). Bearing in mind that the Calibra is basically a Cavalier Coupe and shares much of the Cavalier's underpinnings, it is a great car - To my eyes, there is only one "normal" (ie, ignoring Ferarri, Lotus, Maseratti etc.) coupe on the road that comes even close looks wise and that is the gorgeous Peugeot 406 Coupe. With the exception of the Lotus Elan +2 that I owned, I have never driven a better all round car. It's just a shame that Vauxhall's latest coupe effort, the Astra Coupe is such an ugly duckling in comparison. Simply wonderful!
Calibra, an MPV? A Multi-Purpose-Vehicle? Seriously? Yes! Calibra really is a Multi-Purpose-Vehicle: It has the looks and performance of a sports car (purpose 1), AND the practicality of a 4-seater family car with a big boot (purpose 2). My Calibra has been the family car for the last 7 years for myself, my wife and our two youngsters, now 9 and 5 years old. I've seriously thought of replacing it every couple of years, but just cant find anything to take its place. You won't find this in any of the sales blurb, but this car has one particular feature that for me has made it a great family car: Long doors. Calibras have incredibly long doors. They're a nightmare in multi-storey parking bays - dont park next to one if you value your paintwork - but provide great access to the back to buckle a child into a removable car seat. Whenever I have a courtesy car whilst my Calibra is being serviced or repaired (yes it does happen), I curse the standard 4-door layout of the supposedly practical runabout I get as a replacement. To get a child into a removable car seat in a 4-door car, you have to lift them sideways into their seat, usually dislodging the seat in the process, then lean over them and fumble with the belt and buckle out of sight on the far side. With a Calibra things are far easier! With the huge door wide open and the front seat forward, a child can easily stand on the floor of the car in front of their seat and hop into it quite naturally. Then it's easy to bend down, step halfway into the car yourself (one foot on the pavement, one inside the car, facing to the rear of the vehicle), face your little loved-one (the child stupid, not the car!) and fasten the belt with the buckle easily in sight in front of you. An added benefit of adopting the above 'Calibra position' whilst manipulating a child into the back is that you dont press your smart suit into the child's ice-cream-coated face whil
st doing up the belt. (This, in my experience is the inevitable result when leaning over the sticky individual in the 4-door arrangement.) So, convinced? Calibra - the secret MPV. (Much more multi-purposed than most so-called MPVs, which seem to me to be just vans with windows. How multi-purposed is that?) I wont go into Calibra as a sports car. That's well covered elsewhere. It has looks to die for...but to be brutally honest, if you're used to a proper sports car you'll find Calibra's chassis wobbly, and whilst it goes like a dream in a straight line on the motorway thanks to its legendary aerodynamics and gutsy engine, its handling is more than a little ropey on the twisty stuff. However, if you're about to start a new family and have that awful decision of how to replace your cherished roadster without dying of shame, you could do a lot worse than Calibra!
Uncle Bobs review of the Calibra has to be definitive and I will not attempt to better it here, but rather give a view of living with the Calibra from my perspective. Sorry Sidney I also had one of these as a company car as well. Mine was a Ceramic Blue 16V with cream leather upholstery...and I loved it! Ever since the car was launched it was my ambition to have one, and led me to embark on a ruthless promotion camapign at work to reach the rank required to get one. I ordered it and then sat back and waited....and waited....and waited...the car was being built in Finland and it took 6 months, although they did write to me to let me know how it was getting on! So what was the Calibra experience? Looks - Absolutely timeless, and better than many of the sports coupe's on the road today. Why Vauxhall dropped it and then launched the smaller and uglier Astra Coupe is beyond me. They have kept the nice roof line but given it a front panel like a badly fitting set of false teeth, whereas the front of the Calibra was just right. Inside the cabin - The cream leather was just decadance itself, and surprisingly practical as any spills (kids) or felt pen just wiped off. The dash though was disapointing except for the lovely white dials. Safety - Airbags for driver and passenger and a build quality that made you feel safe. This was one heavy car. Performance - Great, didnt put g's on you but was quick enough to match its looks. My pal had the V6 and that was a beast! Also quite economical. Roadholding - Outstanding! Gearbox - Typical Vauxhall, close ratios and nice and notchy. Boot space - Much better than you would expect and got my golf clubs and trolley in diagonally quite easilly. Roof load - I surf and so the abilty to get my board on the roof was quite important. The Calibra uses the standard Vauxhall hidden rails system and was fine with the right (
expensive rack) despite the bars being quite close together. Air conditioning, electric sunroof, and 5 spoke alloys completed the deal. Never let me down, no mechanical issues at all in over 50,000 miles. Great car...recommend!
Vauxhall's answer to the Ford Probe? or was the Probe in retaliation to the Calibra? Well, in my opinion, Vauxhall won the battle for the coupe. Ever since I was a kid, when I could only dream about owning a car, the Calibra was the one that always sprung to mind. Ever since their launch back in 1990, the Calibra was always one of the cars that turned the little boy’s head as it drove by. Now, finally, I own one myself, and it was worth the wait! So, what is the Calibra? Well the Vauxhall Calibra was introduced in 1990, as a coupe, and was taken out of production in 1998. It offered a fast, powerful car, with nearly no practical uses other than driving fast. Being only 2 door, and the low roofline that slopes rapidly towards the rear of the car, made it useless as a family car. Although people can sit in the back, it doesn’t make for a very comfortable wide, but in all said and done, it’s possible. It came with a 2.0litre engine, either in 8valve SOHC, or 16 valve DOHC which was updated in 1995 to be replaced by the ‘Ecotec’ engine both were straight 4 engines. A V6 4x4 Turbo was also produced which was a beast! That’s all that can be said. Capable of giving most cars on the roads today a run for their money. The Calibra is a re-designed Cavalier in a sense. Using the chassis and a lot of the components being donated by its smaller sister, the Cavalier Gsi and other Cavaliers. The body was re-designed to give you what you know as a Calibra. At the time of production, the drag coefficient of the Calibra was only 0.26, that’s lower than any other 4 seater car in production, through out the WORLD! Quite an achievement and made a very nice car. With Horsepower figures in the range of : 115bhp from the 8v, 150bhp from the 16v before 1995, 136bhp from the 16v after 1995 (the Ecotec engine) and the V6 well, lets just say enough! Those kinds of figures make for a
very powerful car when coupled to the sleek aerodynamic body, make a very fast car. The DTM version, released in 1995, made a much needed styling change that made it look that little bit better, and is the favoured version today, because of the looks, even though it was less powerful but 14bhp. With rear spoiler and lower suspension, the car was improved still further. Why they discontinued it I don’t know, especially when you look at the Vectra for example. Which in comparison is rubbish, but who knows what goes on in these manufacturers minds, maybe it was to give a taste of what Vauxhall is capable of, without making the Calibra a ‘popular car’ like the Cav which became the Vectra? I don’t know. So, what’s so good about the Calibra? The engine, is the first great thing the Calibra has to offer. A proven design that worked well on the racetrack as well as on the road. Not too dis-similar from the engine used in the Touring car. It gives out impressive power figures for a 2litre (1998cc) and also makes maintenance easy due to the typical Vauxhall design, making parts easy to get at and replace. Designed to be pushed that little bit harder, they can take a beating and keep on ticking, without any major repercussions. Mine has 130,000 miles on the clock, and the service history shows no engine work ever being needed, bar a timing belt. The Looks. It has to be said, the Calibra looks the part. Especially when put up against cars of today, that look like they were stick together in the showroom, with the latest design craze seeming to be to have what looks like separate wheel arches, roofs etc, all showing the seems. The Calibra boasts a sleek, stylish profile, with no bulky bits and frogeye looking headlights. The sleek roofline and sweeping windscreens give it a very sporty look, and the narrow slit headlights make you wonder how they light the road at all, but yet are very effective. The
rear end is high and ends sharply. Giving it a ‘no messing’ appearance to onlookers behind, and the low side skirts and bumpers give it that, straight off the Touring car track look. It doesn’t have any of these unsightly holes for towing eyes, or jacking points. They are all covered by flush mounted, colour-coded panels that keep in form to its sleek looks. The rear lights are even nice to look at. Tinted, not the horrible multi coloured clusters that seem to be coming back on modern cars. The DTM version, shows off a low, refined rear spoiler that seems to mould itself into the boot, and the large wheel arches make room for a respectable set of 15inch wheels. Safety, is something else that the Calibra has to offer, although nothing new or out of the ordinary, safety has been thought of. Driver’s side Airbag is fitted to later models after 1993, with the introduction of a passenger side airbag after 1994. ABS is a standard feature on all models, with vented disc brakes on the front, and solid disc brakes on the rear, with a drum brake system incorporated into the rear wheels as well, to work with the handbrake. The hydraulic system is set up in a way that means the front brakes will always be applied first, under heavy braking, thus giving maximum braking performance, needed with so much power driving you. Handling. The handling of the Calibra is next to perfect. Its wide wheel base and low centre of gravity make cornering not only safe, but comfortable too, due to the lack of roll produced in cornering, giving you a much better feeling of control in bends as well as keeping the car stuck to the road. Although it has caused me problems due to the fact, it wont fit in my garage because it is to wide and wont drive onto inspection ramps, because it is to low. So getting under the car for maintenance is a challenge. The wide wheels (205) on most models, make for very good grip, unfortunately, the rare
size that is, makes tyre replacement expensive, at approx. £80 each for a mid range tyre. And the 15inch wheels, fitted as standard, may not look the best alloys in the world, but they do help not only with appearance, but also in transferring that power to the road. Interior. Well your buying a sports car in a sense, so fancy gadgets like TV’s, cruise control etc are not your standard features. However air conditioning is fitted to some models, with the 4x4 coming with leather interior. Trip computers were fitted to later models too. The dashboard is that of the Cavalier. Which is basic, but enough for what you want. Good instrument panel with all sorts of warning lights incorporated from your basic bulb failure and oil pressure, up to ABS, EMS, brake pads, towing lights etc. I have never seen all the warning lights it incorporates, I guess that’s a good thing, but I am sure if I looked there is one that tells me when my tea is ready too. The seats are comfortable and long. Bucket seat design, without being too squashy (that a word?) . They make long distance driving comfortable, with giving you a numb bum. The boot is very large. surprising large, and makes use of the useless space in the rear well. The boot on my Calibra is bigger than that of my dads Ford Granada Scorpio. However, the low rear windshield does limit your boot height, but its wide profile does compensate. Folding the seats down gives you a very large boot space, with plenty of room for the weekly shopping, or, if you’re like me, all them amps and speakers you want to fit. Electrics all round, including windows, sunroof, central locking. A few nice features fitted onto the Calibra are things like, the Auto windows that shut when you lock the door. As well as the one touch system that fully opens or fully closes the window, just by one touch of the button. And due to the location of the window buttons this is a good thing, because you do find yourself hunt
ing for the switch when on the move. Electric seats would have been nice though. Security. Standard Vauxhall alarm fitted, incorporating: ultra sonic, dead locks, sensors on every opening door, including boot and bonnet. Tamper detect, and current sensing. Engine immobaliser. The alarm is automatically set when the doors are locked. With the option of disabling the ultrasonic via a button located in the driver’s side sensor ( I only found that out the other day :o) ) A secondary siren is fitted to some models, in case the main horn is disconnected. The alarm is very sophisticated and is all self diagnosed for faults and operation. A diagnostic function fitted allows you to plug a ‘Tech1’ computer into the system which logs all activity in the alarm and produces reports or which sensor set off the alarm, how many times it has been set off, what is at fault if there is one etc. A feature that would have been nice to see on the Calibra is remote control locking and windows. Never introduced to the Calibra, although if buying second hand you may find an aftermarket system fitted which incorporates remote locking. Gearbox. Not the best gearbox ever used in a car, it is a very close gearbox, and makes for very good acceleration, however it is sometimes hard to engage reverse without grinding it. But then as the saying goes, if you cant find it, grind it. It is smooth once you’re on the move and the close gates make rapid changing easy and effortless, all adding to the high acceleration it can achieve. The clutch is heavy, and you really have to work at it. But this is needed due to the large amount of power you are unleashing through it. But it does work those leg muscles a lot. It is very hard to pull off without spinning the wheels, because of the heavy clutch which is all very well if you want to show off, but under normal conditions, does make for rough starts and rapid tyre wear. The road outside my d
rive is full of black tyre marks. Burnouts are not a problem in the Calibra! Overall. Overall the Calibra is a very well designed, rapid car. With a good powerful engine and very nice styling. I still turn heads going down the road, and it is still standard. At the moment! But it is a very nice car, one of the best cars I have driven. Because of its short production life, it is not very common, compared to a lot of cars, and so do have a sense of appeal to it, and a sense of lust among other road users. I can’t remember the production figures, but it was low. Price wise they hold their value well. Expect to pay £3000+ for any model in good condition, and for a 1990 car, that’s expensive, but worth it. And you know when it comes to selling it, you won’t lose too much on what you payed for it. Parts are easy, because of the amount of Cavalier parts used, although you wont find many Calibras in scrap yards, so a Vauxhall dealer is needed for some components. Modifying the Calibra is easy, because it is so user friendly, and so many companies offer kits and parts for it. You can make a very nice, unique car. And because of the small number on the roads, you won’t look like every other Calibra, like you do in a lot of cars. Definitely gets a thumbs up from me :o)
For it's age the Calibra is still a great looking car and the 16V has good performance for a 2.0L engine. It is a 2 door coupe so I wouldn't call it a family car but you can get 2 people in the back and the boot is a fair size for a coupe. Handling is okay, although it can suffer from typical FF torque steer and it can be a bit light on the front when accelerating from a standstill. The powered steering is average (not quite enough feedback for my liking) and I wish I could switch the ABS off in the dry, I'm sure it increases my braking distance! Extras are okay as I think it was once a fairly executive Vauxhall model, powered everything, leather seats, sunroof, good standard speakers, air con if you want it. From a maintenance point of view it's a Vauxhall (restyled Cavalier) so it's not expensive, if you keep it well serviced it will go on forever. The engine is also infinitely modifiable if you want to squeeze more power out of it and there are plenty of sexy body kits and spoilers if you want to stand out from the crowd. In respect of models, apparently the pre-Ecotec engines are better than the later ones and give out more BHP. Also I think 1992 or earlier and you can whip the cat out without fear of incrimination. From speaking to people and reading stuff I wouldn't go near a 4x4 Turbo with a barge pole. It's very quick (no doubt), but all four tyres must wear at the same rate which generally means replacing all 4 tyres at the same time. If you don't pay attention to this then you will probably end up forking out for a new transmission box (crazy!) and of course 4x4 transmission means more to go wrong in general anyway. To sum it up, fast, fun, good looking, not perfect but you can pick up one in good nick without busting the bank.
I still think that this is a wonderful looking car. Very sleek and smooth. I still have mine (after 2.5 years of ownership), and I still enjoy the car. Mine's a 2 litre 16v, pre-ecotec model. The car is loaded with some great creature comforts:- Heated seats Heated mirrors Aircon (on mine, but not standard for the 16v) Sweet leather seats Decent factory fit stereo and 6 speakers The roomiest coupe I have even been in, especially in the back Good boot space for a coupe All in all, I have enjoyed the car, it a shame that it is a sexier looking Caviler. And because of this, the handling, while pretty good, is not a sharp as I would have hoped for out of should a good-looking sports car. The accerelatiom is very smooth and quick. Yes that are other 2 litre 16v motors that are quick, but the Calibra does have a nice level on composure, especially on the motorway. And it has been recorded at doing a top speed of 141 mph. in Germany. That is due more to the very low drag factor than the power. If anyone is looking for a performance bargain, then I would recommend the Calibra. It looks good, handles well enough, is pretty powerful, and is smooth. Carl Newby.
The Calibra is a great car to drive.......amazing power beneath that bonnet - put your foot down and you're off, leaving everyone else behind. It's a powerful car ( we had the 16 valve)but with more internal space than your average sports model. Sadly we had to let it go as it *is* a 2 door and it just is not a car for a family with 3 young kids. Our kids were of an age to need car seats and a buggy and lifting the baby in and out was just doing my back no good at all, and whereas you *can* fit an average sized buggy in nthe boot, there's then no room for anything else. It was a reliable car and we were sad to see it go. If you don't need a family model, or aren't worried about boot space, it may well be the car for you. Driving it was a real pleasure, they're very responsive cars and it always amused me that most other road users moved to let me overtake even when I was travelling well within the speed limit! The Calibra is a good looking vehicle and a nice compromise if you want a sports model but have one or two kids, or just want more passenger space. Very nippy and an absolute pleasure to be behind the wheel.