Our cars: Vauxhall Astra GTC - June
Week ending June 29
Driven this week: 202 miles
Vauxhall Astra GTC review
Our Astra GTC really comes into its own on the motorway. It's been pottering around town a lot lately, so when I finally got it out on the open road on a round trip to Towcester, I was struck by just how smooth and serene it is.
The cabin is impressively well insulated against road noise, and the engine is so quiet that sometimes at idle you forget it's switched on. In fact, it's so impeccably well behaved that it's hard to believe it does so much guzzling; on this particular journey glugging half a tank of petrol over just 170 miles.
See Emma's Astra GTC on video
Week ending June 22
Driven this week: 154 miles
The Astra GTC's stunning looks appear to have won the approval of coupe lovers, with, Vauxhall tells me, 4000 of the cars now gracing British roads.
I clocked not one but two GTCs in Flaming Yellow within a two-mile radius of our offices in Teddington on the same day last week, and this week was actually followed into a petrol station by a lady whose son had just bought the same version in Carbon Flash black.
He's in good company – almost a quarter of GTCs are ordered in black, compared with just 5% in yellow. Predictably, Power Red is the most popular colour, with a third of buyers deeming it the best shade to set off the coupe's sporty lines.
Week ending June 15
Driven this week: 624 miles
Vauxhall Astra GTC review
Although Vauxhall has decided to give the 5dr Astra hatchback and Sports Tourer some mild styling tweaks, the 3dr GTC remains unchanged.
Just as well, I reckon, because I can't think of a more attractive car for this kind of money than Vauxhall's pseudo coupe – even if our garish custard yellow version isn't to everyone's taste.
I'm less impressed by the GTC's thirst, however. On a recent 300-mile round trip to Rockingham Speedway, which coincidentally was the launch venue for the tyre-smoking Astra VXR, I managed to demolish a full tank of unleaded.
Granted, the GTC's 1.6-litre turbocharged engine needs to be worked hard to give up its best, so it actively encourages a heavy right foot, but most of the journey involved trawling around the M25, so I wasn't exactly giving it death.
By my rough calculations, the trip returned a decidedly tardy 27mpg. Time to chop the yellow peril in for a diesel version in black me thinks. Either that, or go the whole hog and trade up to the wild-child Astra VXR
Week ending June 1
Driven this week: 270 miles
Our time with the Astra is almost at an end, but before it disappears forever, I managed to get my first chance to spend the weekend with it – and subject it to some duties it probably wasn't designed to undertake.
A spell of hot weather coincided with my elder daughter's First Communion, and the GTC was called upon to transport not only children, but also tables, chairs, wine bottles and 64 glasses needed for the subsequent celebration.
Eyeing its impressive 19-inch alloys, I wondered whether all of those 64 glasses would arrive in one piece, but in fact the ride is surprisingly good. On fat Bridgestone tyres, the well-weighted steering answers the helm with surprising eagerness, too – even if ensuing responses turn out to be rather more ordinary.
Coming from my regular drive, an Octavia vRS, its straight-line speed doesn't seem so impressive either, so I can't honestly say the GTC was responsible for getting us to the church on time. However, nestling amongst the more traditional family cars in the car park (BMW X5s, Porsche Cayennes and Volvo XC90s – they don't do things by half in Thames Ditton!) the GTC looked rather dashing.
Not unique though. There was another GTC there; my 23-year-old nephew has just bought one. His is black, and the contrast with our yellow car provoked debate amongst the partygoers. Me? I like the visibility of the yellow car (it makes an excellent colour for motorbikes), but for times when you're hoping to use all of the available performance I'd prefer something more discreet.