Due to a lovely man driving into the back of my Renault Clio I now have a hire car - a vauxhall Astra.
Prior to my accident I was thinking of buying an Astra so was pleased when it arrived so I could test it for a few weeks.
My initial reaction was that it felt very good quality (although, compared to my very old Renault that wouldn't have been hard), the doors were heavy and sturdy.
The seating position of the Astra initially felt very low, I felt that I couldn't see over the steering wheel very easily, but I think that was just because it's a different car to the one I'm used to. After a couple of weeks I've forgotten about it completly
The car is very spacious inside, both in the front and the rear seats and very comfortable. There is certainly enough for 4 large adults to travel very comfortably.
The ride is excellent, very smooth and gentle. The drive is average, the biggest issue I have with the car is the gear box, it feels very 'clunky' particularly from second to third, although, this could be because it's only done 1,000 miles. I keep knocking my elbow on the drivers seat when changing gear.
The car accelorates well and I have confidence in the steering and brakes, I certainly feel safe when driving it.
The only other bug bear I have with this car is the indicators. They have 2 settings, if you gently tap them they come on for 2 or 3 'blinks' and then go off again, if you push them harder they stay on continuously. This takes some getting used to and I found myself either not indicating (because they'd gone out after 2 blinks) or, continually indicating whilst driving on the motorway. I've got used to it now though and it seems to be ok.
The car seems to have quite a low MPG (not sure exactly what I'm afraid as their isn't an indication on the dashboard), I've taken every effort to drive at 70 on the motorway to be as econmical as possible but I am still using a lot more petrol than in my Renault Clio.
I am generally more a passenger than a driver - my husband wanted the Astra (it's a 'man's Corsa', I'm reliably informed!) but I think it's important with any large purchase to make the decision together, so here's my 'passengers review' of the Astra.
We got the car for £7,999 from Motorpoint in Burnley which is a saving of over £6,000 on the list price. I think that it's a great deal - with 11,000 miles on the clock, as-new interior and exterior and brand new tyres, and only 12 months old (58 plate) it's a great bargain. It's a 5 door model, 'Breeze', 1.6l petrol with alloy wheels and metallic charcoal blue paint.
The interior is a soft brushed gold, and the seats are a dark charcoal grey. The interior moulded plastics are a similar grey and the wheel is a black leather. Overall it's very smart - the only slight lacking area is the absence of a 'dip' in the dashboard for the passenger to place their handbag/brolly/newspaper!
The front windows are electric and the back are wound, which is good if you have kids. The middle back seat has a full seatbelt rather than lap and is actually quite comfy (and if you've ever experienced more than a 5 minute drive in the middle back seat of a Corsa, this will be a welcome change!)
The control panel features an in car computer with a screen lit with an orange display. It displays speed, time of journey, temperature, time, date, fuel consumption and diagnostics.
The radio is a decent quality with a good EQ and decent speakers. The CD player plays MP3s and there is an audio jack next to the handbrake for attaching your ipod. The lighter port is in front of the handbrake so you don't have a cord stretching from your ipod to your TomTom/iphone etc.
Comfort wise the car is a very smooth drive indeed (hubby doesn't go crazy fast, but it's nice that 70 feels like 40/50 in this car). The diesel model felt a little punchier and jerkier but the petrol model is a much smoother acceleration - gear changes too are smooth and natural.
After owning a Peugeot 207 and 206, I am pleased to have moved over to Vauxhall and the Astra in particular as a passenger (and occasional driver!). I find the car very easy to drive, the fuel fairly economical (we get about 50mpg) and the overall feel very high standard, especially for the money. My advice is if you're looking for an all round family or larger car, buy a year-old Astra just after it's first service, you should get a great deal if you shop around and you won't be disappointed with the car at all.
Husband says: 9/10, wife agrees! :)
This review is for the vauxhall astra 1.9 TDCI SRI nodel.
I bought this car last October, on a 58 plate, and Overall I have been very pleased with it. I was astonished at how fast it was, and loved the sport button for the extra power, at the push of a button. For such a powerful car, the fuel economy is really good, and I regularly achieve 45-50 miles to the gallon. The car is still under warranty, and I have not had a single reason to take it back to the garage with any problems. Living in the bleak Staffordshire countryside, I have often had problems over the years driving to and from work in the snow during the wintery months, hover the Astra handled impeccably, never seeming to struggle in any condition. Minor quibbles would be that the visibility is quite poor out of the rear window, and the fuse in the front screen wash sprayer has instantly blown twice when pressing it during a frozen morning. Great Car overall, can leave most others standing, and has a great fuel economy, and excellent handling, in all conditions.