Posted by: Charles Maitland | Tuesday 10 October, 2006

OT Rant – Never Buy a Vauxhall

A couple of weeks ago I unfortunately ran over a badger. The result is that the car is in for repairs and I have been given a Vauxhall Astra as a loan car.

I think that Vauxhall is branded Opel elsewhere.

A couple of months ago I had to hire a car for a business trip and I hired a Vauxhall Zafira.

I will never again drive a Vauxhall car for one reason. They have changed the functionality of the indicator stalk. (And the windscreen washer but that is less noticeable.)

In a normal car the driver has 3 feedback methods as to the status of their indicators.

  1. An audible ticking
  2. A light flashing on the dashboard
  3. The position of the stalk

Now for no good reason Vauxhall have decided that that last form of feedback is no longer necessary. In their cars when you flick the switch it activates the indicator but THEN RETURNS TO ITS REST POSITION!

In addition to this stupidity if you don’t press the stalk enough then it only activates the indicators for 3 flashes, but you have no way of knowing this.

The result is that if the indicators fail to cancel, say you are changing lanes, then you have to manually flick the stalk the other way. But you then end up with them switching to the other way and so on.

I totally fail to understand the mentality of a design team that considered this an improvement. It must be the only case in the history of car design where a conscious decision was taken to REDUCE functionality and HINDER drivability.

In conclusion NEVER drive a Vauxhall they are dangerous!



  1. I hate those vauxhall indicators!
    I often get hire cars for work and dread long drives in a Vauxhall where I’m going to have change lanes a lot for the exact reasons that you outline.
    I will never buy a vauxhall now unless they change the design of the indicators.

  2. I’ve got a Vectra and I must admit that the indicators took a bit of getting used to.

    However, I don’t have a problem with them now and, if anything, find the soft-switch err switches really quite user-friendly. It depends what you’re used to, I suppose.

    Have you thought of sticking your arm out of the window, like in the “good old days,” instead? It’d probably get torn off by a passing rep in a Vectra of course, but it’s a small price to pay.

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