Our cars: Vauxhall Astra GTC - December
Week ending December 23
Overall mileage: 5649
Driven this week: 385 miles
Last-minute Christmas shopping meant I was in and out of the Astra a lot this week, and while the snug cabin kept me warm (thank you heated seats), the mammoth reach for the seat belt has started to wear a bit thin. At 5ft 4in, I do favour a more forward-seating position than a lot of people, but given that this is the average height for a woman in the UK, I’m sure I won’t be alone in feeling just a little miffed about risking shoulder dislocation every time I buckle up.
In other news, after concerted efforts to drive efficiently, I was delighted when the GTC rewarded my pains with an average mpg reading of 29.0 – a full 1.6mpg more than when the car arrived in November. That may not seem like much cause for celebration, but it’s taken almost a month and 1884 miles to get here so it’s no small victory. I’m hoping getting closer to the official Holy Grail of 39.2mpg will be less of a battle now we’re over the 5000-mile hurdle.
Week ending December 9
Overall mileage: 4804
Miles driven this week: 224
The Vauxhall was out on Christmas decoration shopping duty this week and swallowed its cargo of tree, lights and baubles with ease.
However, after the car was relieved of its festive load, the boot catch simply refused to engage, leaving the door unsecured and resting ajar.
Closer inspection revealed the latch was sitting as if it was closed, and was therefore acting as a barrier to the loop it was supposed to catch onto.
A simple prod with the Astra’s key was enough to return everything to its original position and full working order, but it is something we’ll be keeping an eye on over the coming months.
Week ending December 2
Overall mileage: 4580
Miles driven this week: 486
I got to spend some quality time with the GTC this week, and I have to say I’m impressed. On a couple of M25 commutes and a slog up to Birmingham to see the new Toyota GT 86 (which, incidentally, is a thing of beauty, but one coupe at a time) the GTC was a real pleasure to drive.
In motorway cruise mode, the 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine is impeccably behaved. Even idling it’s so quiet that, stuck in an inevitable M25 tailback, I did wonder briefly whether I’d been sent the stop-start version by mistake.
In fact, the most striking thing about the GTC (apart from the colour) is not what you notice, but what you don’t. It has Vauxhall’s HiPerStrut front suspension system, which delivers remarkable traction and steering control. No need for constant wheel correction, no lean or roll, no wobble; its supreme stability and grip makes it effortless to drive – just point and go.