Advantages well-priced, reliable, good fuel economy/handling, spacious
Disadvantages no lumber adjustment on driver's seat, no MP3 support or iPod jack
Well, it's that awful time again for changing the family motor. So I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the car I have right now and the one I ordered the other day for delivery soon - in both cases the Vauxhall Astra 'Life' Estate petrol automatic.Here's why.
1. Very reliable - in almost three years, not a moment's trouble with it - and sound build quality from the guys on Merseyside.2. Very roomy. Takes five adults in comfort and loads of stuff in the back. Fold the seats down and you have a virtual cavern. Your stuff slides straight in. No lifting required.
3. Excellent fuel economy. On average I get about 35mpg around town. Not bad at all for an automatic. The box is four-speed fully auto and exceedingly smooth.4. First class acceleration and handling for today's driving conditions and very quiet at motorway speeds. You feel as if you're riding in a much larger car. Moreover, the Astra is easy to keep at dead-on 30mph in built up areas. More important than ever nowadays with all these speed cameras about. SP30s we can all do well without.
5. Extremely comfortable in general. The driver's seat does not have lumber adjustment, which is available on the next model up. But if you don't have back problems then having no lumber adjustment on the 'Life' is unlikely to worry you. If it does, you can always do what I've been doing and use a cushion. Only on longer journeys though. Round town the driver's seat is just fine for me.6. Good-sounding CD player. But no MP3 support and no 3.5mm jack for plugging in external players like iPods etc. Shame about this.
7. Air conditioning - a feature I used to think was silly for carsin the UK. But AC makes a big difference in the summer months when the car has been lying parked at B&Q for an hour. Believe me. It does.8. Electric front windows and remote central locking. Handy features.
9. Reasonably-priced servicing - and only once a year for your average motorist.10. This Astra is a much larger car than you might think. It actually looks and feels more like a Cavalier or a Sierra rather than one of the original Astras from a few years back. In fact, if they were still making Cortina or Montego estates then sizewise I reckon this Astra would be a direct class competitor. Worth mentioning because, having ordered the car over the Internet, on arrival it was much bigger than I'd thought from just looking at the pictures. So I had to rearrange the garage slightly to accommodate it.
11. Smokers should note that the 'Life' does not come with a cigarette lighter and ashtray. You must order the special smokers' pack to get these. However, there is a 12v/120w cigarette lighter socket for charging batteries and powering various gadgets like DVD players etc. - using suitable equipment, of course.12. Made well in Britain by British workers.
Yet, one of the best things I love about the Astra estate is its unashamed blandness. While a very modern, stylish car it doesn't stand out in any way liable to annoy the neighbours or fellow motorists, as often do some cars I can think of that are hampered by various unfortunate 'images'. So, quite apart from all the practical reasons for buying this car - many outlined above - if you're like me and seek to maintain a low profile at all times, then by dint of its sheer modesty I think the Vauxhall Astra 'Life' Estate petrol automatic will be right up your street.It's certainly right up mine.
|Value for Money|
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