Our cars: Vauxhall Astra GTC - March 2012

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Vauxhall Astras GTC
Vauxhall Astras GTC
Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6 Turbo SRi 180

Week ending March 30
Mileage: 10,590
Driven this week: 95 miles

Vauxhall Astra GTC review

Our Astra GTC isn’t enjoying life in town, not one little bit; neither is my bank account, if I’m honest. The engine’s now had more than 10,000 miles to settle in, but with no opportunity for open road driving in the past month, it’s lapsed back to its old petrol guzzling ways.

At the moment, it’s managing to average a paltry 22.5mpg, which, with the price of petrol as it is, is working out at a killer 28 pence per mile. The cost of running the thing is definitely taking the shine off what is otherwise a smashing car.

On another note, road tester Will moaned about the GTC’s Flaming Yellow paint a couple of weeks ago, so it’s interesting to see it next to its twin in Power Red in this shot taken in our car park. While I agree that red brings a certain dynamism, I’m still not convinced it has the edge on the yellow, but maybe I’m biased.

Emma Butcher

Week ending March 23
Mileage 10,495
Driven this week: 765 miles

Vauxhall Astra GTC review

The Astra thinks it’s fitted with climate control, but I don’t think it is. Air conditioning, yes, climate control, no.

The difference, to my mind, is that climate control operates automatically to maintain a selected temperature in the cabin.

Air conditioning leaves you to fiddle around with the temperature, blower speed and direction of airflow to keep yourself comfortable, as in the GTC.

It took rather a lot of fiddling on a journey to Warwick and back, too. The temperature in the cabin was swinging up and down depending on how the lovely sun we’ve been enjoying was shining into the cabin, so I was fettling around with the controls a fair bit.

Talking of fiddling and fettling, the entire centre console of the Astra is peppered with buttons and dials. I found them about as intuitive and easy to understand as the Higgs boson.

Peter Lawton

Week ending March 16
Mileage 9730
Driven this week: 206 miles

Consumer editor Emma Butcher chose to have her Astra GTC painted in a rather vivid ‘flaming yellow’. I have to admit, I might have done the same thing if I was flicking through a Vauxhall brochure, because the colour looks pretty smart in photos.

In the metal, though, it’s a bit disappointing. Not because I think yellow is a lurid colour that should be reserved for skips (as one member of the What Car? team commented), but because the dazzling shade hides some of the coupe’s elegant lines.

The ‘power red’ – chosen by sister magazine Autocar for their long-term GTC – does a much better job of highlighting the car’s sexy contours, and is still bright enough to stand out. Better still, it makes the Vauxhall £100 cheaper.


Week ending March 9
Mileage 9524
Driven this week 63 miles

Vauxhall Astra GTC review

The GTC has had a bit of an urban workout recently, and it seems to be having a positive effect on the gearbox. Gearchanges were stiff at first, and with lots of motorway action over the early miles the manual 'box didn't get a lot of exercise.

However, now the Astra has nearly 10,000 miles on the clock, things are starting to loosen up. It’s not treacle smooth yet; shifts are still a little clunky moving up from second to third and down from fourth to second, but fluidity is improving all the time.


Week ending March 2
Mileage 9461
Driven this week: 431 miles

Vauxhall Astra GTC review

The Astra GTC has been dinged! It’s a tiny dent that’s almost invisible to the naked eye, and the paintwork is unblemished, but now I know it’s there, I can’t stop looking at it. I’m told the culprits struck in a Waitrose car park of all places; who would have thought?

A visit to Thatcham, the people who devise car repair methods and costs for insurance companies, this week would have been the perfect opportunity to seek expert advice. I say would have, because seeing a Nissan Leaf in bits on the floor as engineers tried to work out the safest way for bodyshops to store the battery pack distracted me somewhat.

Luckily, there won’t be any such problems when I take my GTC into its first - and hopefully last - body repair workshop for a spot of smart TLC.


Our cars: Vauxhall Astra GTC - February 2012


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