Vauxhall Astra: What the boss thinks

  • Our boss takes charge of the Astra
  • Back seats get used for first time
  • Sat nav woes, fuel economy pros

This month I've lent my Astra out to our boss, Managing Director, Ed Kenyon. Since he was borrowing it I thought it would be good to find out what he thought of the car - he's got a wife and kids, so his point of view is likely to be different to mine. So, without further ado:

"I’ve driven the new Vauxhall Astra 2.0 diesel for a week or so and this is a definite improvement on my experience of previous Astras.

"It’s pitched as an all-round family hatchback but with this spec it’s not cheap – at over £25k – so I was intrigued as to how it would perform. This was also the first manual car I’d driven with stop/start technology and it took a little getting used to, with the engine kicking back in when you lowered the clutch to re-engage 1st gear. After a day or so I was completely used to it and it gives you the option of keeping the engine running if you keep your foot on the clutch and 1st gear engaged – for example when you’re moving in very slow traffic but not actually coming to a halt.

"The engine is a little noisy at low revs – like diesels of old – but it accelerates pretty well and once you’re into 3rd the engine quietens down and pulls smoothly. Increased speed for safe overtaking comes with very little effort and it’s a pleasure to drive at cruising speeds.

"The cabin looks good inside, but the seats took quite a bit of adjusting before I found a comfortable position. Three children can be fitted into the back and my youngest’s car seat fitted the Isofix attachments with ease. The boot was reasonable and passed a weekend visit to Ikea with flying colours.

"One niggle was that I found the sat nav to be one of the least intuitive I’ve used with a central dial using both twist and push functionality with no real indication as to what did what! However, after poring over the manual I did pick it up eventually. Unsurprisingly, I seemed to be some way away from the claimed 62.8mpg but the distance between fill ups was suitably large.

"Overall a decent family hatchback but I’d go for a slightly lower spec."

So that's it then. Next time you use it Ed, put some fuel in.

Current mileage: 2,012

Average mpg: 34.1

Three kids can easily fit into the rear of the Astra

Boot is big enough to facilitate trips to your local Swedish furniture shop.

Sat nav controls can prove confusing, but to 'select' just push outer ring.