Vauxhall Astra: Mixed emotions

  • Our six months with the Astra come to an end
  • Myriad extras - some good, some not so much
  • Engine is a decent efficiency compromise for me

After six months with my Vauxhall Astra it's time to say goodbye.

Overall I've enjoyed the car. It isn't without its foibles, but the lasting impression is of a capable machine with low running costs and several clever features.

Sure, it isn't the last word in dynamic capabilities when up against the titans of the sector (the VW Golf and Ford Focus), but the Astra is nice to drive. It's simple to park thanks to its light steering, doesn't get flustered through corners and grips fairly well when moving away from junctions.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine is a noisy old thing but its 158bhp maximum power, a claimed 62.8mpg and 119g/km CO2 emissions is a happy compromise. Although I managed nowhere near the official MPG figure over the course of my ownership, the car did well. I'm not exactly known for hanging around and so it performed admirably.

My car has several optional extras. Some are worth the extra cost, while some are rather expensive. I liked the front and rear parking sensors: I'm rubbish at parking so they come in useful. The £855 stereo system however, seems a bit over the top since the end result isn't worth such a premium. £470 for 'ergonomic sports seats' seemed like an absolute joke at the beginning of my ownership period, but as time went on and the miles clocked up it made sense. The detachable tow bar is a useful addition but at £525 it's pricey.

One thing I couldn't have gone without is the Bluetooth handsfree system. I must have spent hours on the phone in the Astra, and the £220 it costs makes it seem like a no-brainer to me.

Lookswise the Astra has split opinion in the office. While some colleagues say it's "generic", I actually don't mind it. I certainly think it stands out more than a Focus does.

The Flexfloor boot still needs some development in my opinion, but I like the concept and it is a clever idea. For me it's just not there yet, though.

And of course, I was glad of the tyre pressure monitor system when an unhelpful member of the public decided to steal three of my valve caps and let my rear tyres down.

So, it's time to wave goodbye to my Vauxhall Astra SRi 2.0 ECOflex start/stop, and on to something completely different. A fond farewell for a reliable workhorse.

Current mileage: 8,644

Average mpg: 41.45