I had this 11 plate vehicle for a couple of weeks as a hire car whilst my Ford Fiesta Ghia was being repaired after some idiot busy on her phone run into the back of me.
Overall, I was very impressed with this car. The interior was nice, made out of good materials and especially for a Vauxhall was finished to a high standard. The equipment levels were high, the ride was smooth and comfortable and it had good all round vision. It drove very well around town, handled brilliantly on windy B- roads was not to bad to reverse and park but the 1.6 petrol engine (which was not a turbo) was at times especially at higher speeds a bit sluggish and felt a bit out of it's depth on the motorway.
It is also not the most economical car I have ever owned or driven, the height adjustable steering column didn't go up far enough for me and I kept on bashing my knees on the bottom of the steering wheel as a result of this and I was a bit disappointed with the size of the boot as it did not look a million miles bigger than my Fiesta's boot and was no where near as big as the boot on my mother's 2005 Ford Focus.
At first, I found the 'button' park/ handbrake annoying (have always been used to a good old fashioned lever handbrake) but after a few days I got used to it and actually quite liked in the end.
Would I buy one in the future? Possibly but not one with this engine. It would have to be either a turbo 1.4/ 1.6, a 1.8 or a CDTI diesel version.
Having previously owned and driven larger cars I took the decision to downsize. I also wanted a car that wasn't an out and out hot hatch but that provided performance that was faster than the "commodity" models. I thought that the new Focus looked pretty awful and the Golf very boring. I eventually went for the Astra because it had a better interior, ride quality and performance. It was also a good bit cheaper although this was less important to me.
In terms of performance, the 1.6 turbo engine provides plenty of thrust. It cracks 0-60 in under 8 seconds and is easily fast enough to get rid of the usual tailgate brigade. The car was originally hesitant at lower speeds but a software update cured this. Maybe a lesson on not buying the first cars off the production line.
I went for the SRI rather than the softer sprung SE and I'm glad that I did. The handling is truly excellent whilst not compromising the ride quality too much. I find it comfortable at pretty much all speeds on the UK's potholed and speed bump ridden streets.
In terms of fuel economy, Vauxhall is quoting over 40mpg but with a mixed driving style, I'm getting around 32mpg. Still not bad considering the performance on offer. The CO2 tax band is also pretty reasonable at 159g.
The real star of the show though is the interior which looks as though it has come out of something much more expensive.
In summary, I am pleased to bits with this car and find myself driving it just for the fun of it.
Having taken delivery of my company assigned Astra just 2 weeks ago, this review is more of a first impression reaction. On first glance the styling is a little bland in this spec - no alloy wheels, just some eco tyres and aero dynamic wheel trims. It is the Ecoflex model, but suspiciously no MPG computer is included(?) - some old school maths suggests I'm still shy of the claimed MPG. The 1.3 diesel engine suggests laboured performance, and true to the figures it is not the most brisk, and often requires you to be in a lower gear than normal. The electronic parking brake is a small switch instead of a handbrake, which I dont feel disengages very smoothly, as it is supposed to be automatically released when clutch and accelerator are used to pull away? There is an automatic hill start assist feature, but I'm yet to read up on this as it's caught me out when I was expecting it to be there! From a positive perspective the interior is a very nice place to be - good quality materials and an upmarket feel. The red glow around the base of the gear stick mount is a nice touch. Whilst acceleration is perhaps predictably sluggish, it does appear to cruise quite comfortably at motorway speeds. However, the power comes higher up the rev range than I'd normally expect from a diesel, so sitting at an eco-friendly 60mph, you start to become more aware of moderate inclines. Overall it is quite an easy car to live with, but I was hoping for a better balance of drivability versus econom
Do not buy one of these cars, the petrol engines have a major fault with the ignition system. The ignition coils and crankshaft position sensor are weak and will fail. The engine will miss fire or have trouble starting. If this happens, take it to the nearest independent garage. Avoid Vauxhall dealers, their diagnostic computers cannot detect the fault so they will replace parts at random and at your expense. Mine broke down 2 days after it was serviced by a Vauxhall dealer and a day after the warranty expired. Vauxhall UK did not want to know and the dealer refused to see the car. After 2 Vauxhall dealers tried to fix it and unnecessarily replaced 2 major components at a charge of £500 it broke down again. Thankfully the RAC recovered the car and found the fault instantly and an independent garage fixed the car for £40. By the way the car has just broken down again, one of the unnecessarily replaced components failed after 13months, just as its warranty expired.
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