The 136ps turbo diesel engine thankfully helps you do away with too much gear changing. All 6 cogs in the manual box were nicely spaced with 4th being the most common gear l selected. 5th and 6th were really long legged and not suitable for most of my commute. This isn’t a criticism either but a virtue for the economy achievable. Over the 250 test miles, I managed to get around 60mpg overall. I could live with that and perhaps l could get more if I used 5th gear. Problem is the pull of the engine was always on the go in 4th with the engine rotating just below the 2000rpm where its maximum of 320Nm of torque is available. So chugging around at 1600rpm made perfect sense of the engine’s flexibility.
The ride wasn’t too bad either. It was no market leader and the tourer does look a little jacked up at the rear, possibly to compensate for a heavier permissible payload. Not that you would have known despite this being labelled a sporty Astra. The alloys themselves shouted non-sportiness at you being sensible 16” rims with a 55 section tyre. It all came together as a compliant ride that would carry you comfortably for many miles. Pushed hard beyond its limits and the Astra would understeer in corners.
And now to my problems. Lane keeps assist was more miss than hit. For all the cars l have tested with this system, the Vauxhall was the one that didn’t work. It simply kept loosing the markings on the road, more so at night. Parking sensors were typical of Vauxhall and incredibly vocal and paranoid. You were being shouted at by them as soon as you had turned the ignition key. If I was given the choice l would save myself the annoying expense of £750 and learn to park without them.
Motoring nurse or medical motorist? It’s a difficult one. By day l nurse and by night l drive.
Fingers have always been grease deep in attending the motoring of an ageing fleet. And now l write about new and old.
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Member of the Southern Group of Motoring Writers. (SGMW)