I have been looking to buy a Vectra estate and drove my first example today. It is a 2.2 Direct petrol, 2005, 47k miles. All seems well apart from a number of whines that are audible under certain conditions. The power steering seems to make a lot of noise; I understand it is electrically assisted and these are generally not the quietest systems, but this Vectra's steering was substantially noisier than that of my wife's Clio (9.5 years old, 180k miles!).
My bigger concern is that of a fairly quiet whine from the engine over 4000 rpm, even when warm. It's not as loud as say a supercharger would be (!) but it is definitely noticeable and consistent, and I don't think it's ever a good sign. I might be a bit sensitive to this as I used to have a SAAB 9-5 that whined, as it turned out, due to oil starvation caused by a blocked pick-up, itself caused by a design fault. Nasty business and very annoying, so I am fairly cautious with things like that, especially as I have heard that early 2.2 VX engines had a similar problem? However, I know that some drivetrains used to have a characteristic whine that was permanent, and no indication of any fault; I'm thinking of the gearbox whine in an old Metro for example. So my questions are these; does the Vectra 2.2 have any sort of characteristic whine-type sound to its engine? Or does this sound like trouble? And a similar question for the power steering.
I realise that it's very difficult to answer without being able to listen to the actual noises! At least if people can tell me whether the 2.2 has any characteristics like this then I can narrow the possibilities.