Our cars: Vauxhall Astra GTC - January 2012
Week ending January 27
Miles driven this week 471
An evening in the Astra GTC was an enlightening experience. I think it’s a sharp-looking car, the interior is a nice place to sit and, although it’s not the best three-door hatch to drive, it’s decent enough.
Poor rear visibility isn’t unexpected in a car with such rakish lines (if you’re in the market for a GTC, I’d strongly recommend you specify the optional parking sensors), but the view past the thick, steeply angled windscreen pillars is awful.
You won’t have much trouble seeing at night, though, because the standard halogen headlights are powerful and have an impressively even beam. Pity they’re don’t quite reach far enough on full beam when you’re driving quickly on country roads, and that our SRi model’s automatic full-beam system isn’t a little quicker to react.
Vauxhall Astra GTC review
Week ending January 20
Driven this week 540 miles
I've grown rather fond of yellow – flaming yellow between you, me and Vauxhall's enthusiastic naming committee. It's fun, easy to spot for absent-minded parking types like me, and really shows off the GTC's sporty curves.
Boy, it shows up the dirt too though, and we haven't even been off the beaten track yet. So come the weekend, I'll be donning my Marigolds and giving the grubby little coupe a good scrubbing.
It's slow-going now we're averaging more than 30mpg. A colleague also drove the GTC this week and he swears he was on his best behaviour, but between us we've still only managed to get from 39.2 to 30.5mpg after another 966 miles.
Week ending January 13
Driven this week: 426 miles
This week I got the chance to drive the Astra GTC's new rival – the quirky Hyundai Veloster – and I was keen to see how the two compare.
I was impressed with the Veloster's interior; it has the same cockpit feel to the cabin as the GTC, and although it's a bit more sparse, I like the way the dials are angled towards the driver so you can see everything you need to in an instant.
It's snug inside, too, but I did miss the GTC's heated seats, although these do come as an option on the Veloster's higher Sports trim.
Around town, the Veloster's steering felt lighter and less responsive than the GTC's. However, on the plus side, I found the Veloster much easier to park – it has shorter overhangs so you can make a much better judgment of how close you are to the kerb. Reversing sensors, which my GTC lacks, also helped.
I liked the Veloster, but driving it has made the GTC stand out even more for me as a really great all-rounder. I won't be trading it for the new kid on the block just yet.
Week ending January 6
Driven this week: 723 miles
The Astra GTC and I hit a milestone this week, with the car notching up another whole mile to the gallon. It's now averaging 30.2mpg on mostly open-road driving. A 700-mile round trip over the Christmas break did the trick.
The car should be well run in now after almost 7000 miles, however, so I'm wondering just how many more motorway marathons I have to do to get close to the official combined mpg figure of 39.2.
Featured in this story