Article By TJ


Mileage: 2035

Overall economy: 61.4

Faults: None

41 days in, and YOM's daily commute is starting to return to normal, following the rather circuitous roadworks-avoiding trips of its early life. With this return to normality comes an improvement in the MPG, no doubt helped by another New Astra joining the fleet and sharing the lead-foot test drives!

Another consequence of this different route (Buckley - Hope - Caergwrle - B&Q r'bout - A483 - Dickens) is that the necessarily slower speeds allow more time to enjoy the creature comforts, and this car has many. Placing them in order of niceness depends who you ask:

Driver: The heated steering wheel is, quite probably, the greatest invention since Tunnocks Tea Cakes. It warms quickly and in just the right places for a frozen palm to be thawed out, even with your hands in the not-recommended-but-used-by-everyone 20-past-8 position.

Front seat passenger: The heated seat gains strong approval, quickly up to bum-roasting temperature and with heat to the lower back as well.

Back seat passenger (9 yrs old): No questions, the built-in WiFi scores top marks. Mobile iPad usage is, apparently, swagalicious. Quite.

WiFi on the move

Wifi has become such a ubiquitous part of everyday life that our car having it seems completely normal, and it can be used exactly as you'd use your home broadband - for example, YOM now boasts a nearly infinite musical playlist thanks to Spotify, streamed to the car via Bluetooth on a Samsung Smartphone logged in on the WiFi.

Or how about your sproglets being able to watch CBeebies while they travel (or trawl YouTube as would seem to be the case in our car).

Or... en route to Argos, she-who-must-be-obeyed thinks of something else that is needed - log on to the Argos website, and reserve it online, discover it's not available in Plas Coch but is in stock in Bromborough - a quick call to OnStar and the directions appear in the SatNav - joined up thinking!!!

Using it is simplicity itself - hit the button in the roof, and 'WiFi settings' appears on the screen, with the ID and password. Enter those into your phone/ipad and away you go - it really is as easy as that, and the signal (using Vodafone 4G) is very stable, even round here where there are a few black holes.

Winter Pack

YOM's optional Winter Pack (£345) is quite probably the best option we picked. Even when we haven't yet really dipped into Siberian temperatures, the ability to take the chill off bums and thumbs is a modern luxury that will now be ticked on all future demos. Individually selectable, and with a useful spread of temperature choices, the seats are quick to warm up and produce a very even spread, extending up into the lower back as well. Nice.

The heated steering wheel is one of those things that you don't know how you managed without. YOM's steering wheel is a nice leather job anyway, but the ability to add a level of internal heat is sublime - as an added safety feature, there's no need to wear gloves so you can operate all the car's controls easily, too.

Sport Switch

Possibly the most underused bit of tech on YOM is the 'Sport' switch.

When you hit it, the steering weights up a little, and the accelerator becomes a bit more responsive... and that's it. The engine remains unchanged, as does the suspension, so YOM is not suddenly transformed into a snarling, fire-breating VXR-chaser. In the right mood, on the right road and with somewhere to be, it does make a difference, bringing a sportier character that is maybe closer to the SRi's of old, but it's not something you reach for every time you get in the car.

NEXT TIME: Astra Park Assist

If you'd like to book a test drive, give us a call on 01978 290077