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The Automatic choice


CX18 WOY, Astra Elite Nav 1.6CDTi Sports Tourer Auto, Lava Red
Options: Front & rear parking sensors

Mileage: 51 MPG: 35.3

Faults so far: None since delivery, see report for full details


It’s a nice problem to have - after a hugely successful start to the New Year, we ran out of cars. Well, sort of. We'd sold virtually every new car we had in stock and because we have to have a full showroom, the Social Media Team Leader's new demo was somewhat marooned in said showroom until we could gather some more stock and replace it. This took an agonisingly long time, mainly because we were (and are) flogging the new stock as fast as it arrived!

However, constantly moaning at the DP paid off and the mighty Astra Elite Nav 1.6CDTi Auto Sports Tourer was eventually released from captivity and sent for pdi. Which is where the fun starts...


Now, you may read other dealer blogs that see everything through rose coloured glasses, but we'll tell the truth - it didn't go as smoothly as it should have. This was no fault of the car, mind you, more a combination of silly little things that meant a few days more waiting (1 st world problems, I know). For instance, the battery. Now, WOY has been in the showroom for a while, then on display outside, then back inside... during which time we'd foolishly let the battery discharge to flat so many times that it was kna... faulty. Totally down to us, user abuse and all that. But we didn't have the right battery in stock so it took a couple of days to get one. We then had a few electrical gremlins because we’d regularly mullered the poor car’s brain with countless battery-pack jump starts. Again, our own fault, an easy fix, quickly sorted but adding another delay when the techs advised that we allowed the electronics to savour a soothing dose of proper stable voltage coming from the battery not a booster pack. Then, we'd missed the daily deadline to put it on our insurance and we thought we hadn't taxed it and the cover for the door lock was missing then it ran out of fuel because we'd left it running so often to try and charge the battery...

Aaaanyway, WOY is now on the road and first impressions are very good. It’s the smoothest & quietest ‘Whisper Diesel’ we’ve had, and the red paintwork is superb. Being an Elite Nav it’s got lots of toys including dual-zone climate control, heated leather seats front & back and a delightful heated steering wheel. Lovely. Interior space is generous and the boot is massive with a low lip and flat space. There’s also the luxury of remote release for the rear seats – flick the switch in the boot and the seatbacks drop. Lazy, but useful. We've added mats and a boot liner, and will soon be fitting protective film on the rear bumper to protect the paint from loading scrawps.

Now, your author’s last automatic car was a Hillman Hunter in 1982 that had done 225,000 miles and had 3 gears. Sometimes. This Astra (ahead of an impending shoulder op that will mean a temporarily less flexible left arm) has a 6-speed auto gearbox which makes life so easy – why didn’t I ask for an auto years ago? The change is almost imperceptible and it makes for a very relaxing drive with none of that tedious clutchy gearsticky stuff (flick the lever left and you can shift manually should you want to). After only 50-odd miles economy is still settling down, but it’s above 35 already and still climbing – this includes a good few hours of battery-charge-idle malarkey so it’s a bit skewed until we get some miles under its belt.

Onward & upward!

WOY's comprehensive specification:

  • Full leather interior
  • Heated front and outer rear seats
  • Heated leather-covered steering wheel
  • Rain-sensitive wipers
  • Automatic lighting with tunnel detection
  • Automatic anti-dazzle rear-view mirror
  • Electrically folding/adjustable/heated door mirrors
  • Electric parking brake with hill start assist
  • Sports-style front seats with 4-way electrical lumbar adjustment
  • Door-to-door illumination
  • OnStar
  • Navi 900 IntelliLink touchscreen satnav
  • Six speakers (four front, two rear)
  • Two rear USB charging points
  • Steering wheel audio / phone / cruise control with speed limiter
  • Electronic climate control including air conditioning
  • Remote control central locking
  • Electrically operated front and rear windows
  • 12-volt socket in luggage compartment
  • Multi-function trip computer
  • Ambient LED lighting in front doors
  • ISOFIX system on outer rear seats
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Silver-effect roof rails
  • 17-inch multi-spoke alloys
  • Front fog lights
  • Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Remote control ultrasonic security alarm system

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