Our cars: Vauxhall Astra GTC - July
Week ending July 27
Driven this week: 16 miles
Vauxhall Astra GTC review
The Astra GTC's enormous windscreen is a really great feature, and gives an all-commanding view of the road ahead.
Since the summer finally put in an appearance, however, I've noticed that because the screen is so steeply raked, sometimes the glare under strong sunlight can be a little off-putting, so sunglasses are a must.
There's no such problem with the rear view, thanks to the darkly tinted rear screen, mirrors and windows.
See Emma's Astra GTC on video
Week ending July 20
Driven this week: 120miles
The Astra GTC comes with plenty of goodies in bog-standard form. We added a few of our own, including the leather pack, the brilliantly useful Navi600 infotainment system, Bluetooth and LED tail lamps.
One schoolboy error was skimping on the parking sensors. After spending the past eight months swimming to the kerb every time I’ve failed to judge the distance between it and the GTC’s wheels (invisible under its vast rear end), I’m not surprised to see sensors high on the list of the most popular options on this car.
Week ending July 13
Driven this week: 130 miles
The GTC has a built-in sunglasses holder, which is very handy. However, I do question why it's mounted right next to the driver's head.
If you're over six feet tall (like I am) you bash your bonce on it when going over speed bumps – very annoying.
Week ending July 6
Driven this week: 214 miles
I’ve spent a fair bit of time with our long term GTC of late and I’m pretty sure I’ve got to the bottom of why it remains somewhat unloved in the What Car? office.
The problem lies with the SRi Turbo badge, which immediately leads folk to think of it as a tyre-smoking, high-revving hot hatch. In actual fact, the way to get the best out of the engine is to drive it like a diesel, relying on the turbo torque and short shifting through the gears at around 4000rpm.
You can still make rapid progress this way and it improves the fuel consumption no end. I reckon I’ve been getting a whole lot closer to the official claimed 39.2 combined fuel figure than any of my colleagues by adopting this tactic.
I still find the overall touring range to be frustratingly low, however; it's less than 300 miles if you’re pushing on a bit.
What I do love is the message you get from the sat-nav when the low fuel warning light comes on. This alert tells you that the car is low on fuel and asks you if you’d like to stop off at one of the five nearest petrol stations. If you click to agree it automatically programs the route and directs you to your chosen fuel station.