Vectra wins US Car of the Year

Published: 08 January 2007

It’s enough to make Jeremy Clarkson’s hair curl – even more. A US version of the Vauxhall Vectra – the Saturn Aura – has won North American Car of the Year.

The car derided by TV presenter Clarkson won the award, following a vote by 49 enlightened motoring hacks. The gong is equivalent to the European Car of the Year, won by Ford’s S-Max in November. The Saturn Aura is a blinged up version of the Vectra, the dull but worthy family car unveiled for Europe in 2001. Opel-Vauxhalls are being sold in the States rebaged as Saturns, with the Astra hatch, Vectra saloon, forthcoming Antara mid-size SUV and the Sky – the production version of the VX Lightning concept car – all available under the Saturn banner. ‘This is a great day for General Motors,’ said Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak.

Sister brand Chevrolet won the Truck of the Year award, for the Silverado pick-up. Whatever next – a Chrysler winning the European Car of the Year? It’s not unprecedented, although the crown was clinched by its French subsidiary Simca for the Horizon in 1979.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine