Our Vauxhall Astra SRi Nav 1.6 Biturbo CDTi (165)

Reg: CX66YFL

Colour: Sovereign Silver

Options: Sunroof, Parking Pack, Winter Pack, tinted rear windows, Power Bar, LED rear lights

Mileage at start: 6

Mileage now: 10234

Overall economy: 56.3

Faults: None

Pros: Immense engine, great economy, comfortable seats, powerful hifi, good choice of options

Cons: None

Niggles: No washer bottle level warning.

An email arrived the other day from CrazyHedgehog43 (the 43rd in the illustrious CrazyHedgehog clan...) and as it coincided with our Astra demo turning through 10,000 miles, it seems appropriate to answer the question posed here, namely, why don’t we ever talk about the bad things?

Well, the obvious answer is that we are a Vauxhall dealership and pretty much all these blogs are essentially a form of advertising, so we’d be a bit mad to start slagging off our own product, notwithstanding the fact that with this particular car the most irksome 'fault' is a lack of warning that the washer bottle is empty. Having said that, the overwhelmingly upbeat tone is also a result of the 10,000 miles being an entirely positive experience, with no faults or failures, nothing broken, epic performance and parsimonious fuel consumption. If CrazyHedgehog43 is looking for a destructive piece on the Astra, he (or she) is going to be disappointed.

High spec... with a few juicy extras

We started with the kit-heavy SRi Nav, and the mighty BiTurbo engine. The Winter Pack was the first option ticked – the heated seats and steering wheel are very welcome on a cold morning. Next choice – Parking Pack. This includes front & rear sensors, a reversing camera and the slightly alarming ability to park itself; the first time you do it, it’s weird. After that, it’s easy and is a boon if you’re lazy! Next, tinted rear windows and the Power Bar, although the latter is an option I haven’t ticked on this car's replacement – TBH it ain’t the greatest design and won’t hold my Samsung in its case (CrazyHedgehog43 will be pleased!). The LED rear lights bring a touch of glamour to the rear and add a great ‘light signature’.Other than that, it's boggo Sri Nav all the way - see our previous blogs for details of the huge standard kit list.

The interior

After nine months of a grinding daily commute, football tournaments, trips to Cornwall, test drives, journeys to VX HO in Luton etc the interior is not only a nice place to be, with loads of room, a big boot and comfy seats, but it's stood up well to life with a football-playing 10 yr-old and his mates, and the hifi has always proved more than adequate for their 'bangin' taste in tunes. Cubbies are plentiful and all surfaces have stood the test of time well. All the controls are logically laid-out, there are no rattles, and everything works just as it should. To be picky on behalf of CrazyHedgeHog43, the sunroof having one button to open/close and another seperate button to tilt/close is a bit odd but having said that, the sunroof brings a lighter coloured headlining than a standard SRi and it really lifts the ambience.

The Joy of Techs

Standard SRi Nav kit is huge, with traffic sign recognition a highlight. The Satnav is easy to use and accurate, and the voice control works well. DAB radio is superb (Radio 5 Live never sounded better, Hello to Jason Isaacs) and the auto lights and wipers are very effective. Lane Assist is a great idea and will even steer the car back into the lane if you wander without indicating, and the ‘Sport’ button deserves a special mention – it doesn’t unlock any extra power but it makes what’s already there arrive sooner, which in this car means a lot of grunt. It makes a big difference to the throttle response and adds weight to the steering if you’re in the mood.

Performance

As the miles have piled on, YFL's engine has loosened up and is now nothing short of brilliant, with epic performance and stunning economy. A recent trip to Luton & back delivered an astonishing combination of speed and consumption: at an average speed of nearly 60mph it sipped fuel at 71mpg and the overall economy, over 10,000 miles, is hovering around 57mpg. This, on a daily not dawdling Buckley > Work commute that’s a mixture of A483 and urban roads.

Acceleration is huge in the mid-range, meaning motorways and dual-carriageways are dispatched with ease, and usually in 6th gear. It’s always fun to be behind a hard-accelerating ‘performance’ car working hard through the gears and seeing the slightly confused expression on the driver’s face as a humble Astra matches their speed.The Gresford hill, s'thbound, is tackled with hardly a shrug.

Goodbye

YFL is now up for sale (you’ll find all the details HERE) and I’ll be sad to see it go. It’s been faultlessly reliable, hugely practical and fun to drive. YFL’s next owner will be getting a fabulous car.