Current mileage 12,101
Claimed economy 62.8mpg
Actual economy 48.1mpg
One of the joys of living in a multi-vehicle household is that there’s always work to do on one of the cars. And because I have a taste for fast hatchbacks from the 1970s and ’80s in particular – and the rarer the better – I’m usually on some parts-finding mission.
My latest caper involved a trip to Merseyside. I needed to pick up a set of 15-inch alloy wheels for a Citroen BX 16-Valve currently residing at my place, and given the huge and usable loadspace of the Astra Sports Tourer, combined with its reasonable fuel consumption (I will get back to this in the next update) make taking the Vauxhall up north an absolute no-brainer.
And every time I hit the motorway in the Astra it’s hard not to come away thinking that the GM engineers really have honed this car for long, fast, non-stop journeys. The driving position is excellent (barring the usual caveat of rubbish front three-quarter visibility thanks to a bulky A-pillar), and the ride, while firm (and certainly more so than the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf Mk6) is pliantly-damped, and never gets tiring on a run. I’ve heard some journalists bemoan the Astra for having inert steering, but it’s well-weighted and nicely geared, inspiring plenty of confidence at speed.
Heading north, cruise control dialled-in at 70mph, the Astra’s a pleasant place to be, and the miles roll agreeably on. Sadly once again the fuel consumption proves disappointing, with a non-stop run to Ellesmere Port (where the Astra was built) failing to crack 50mpg. Again.
As we line-up the car in front of a Vauxhall-logo’d tower at the Ellesmere Port factory, it’s easy to appreciate the fine stylng (subjective, I know), which looks best in profile. Again, I think the British-made Vauxhall has the beating of the Focus and Golf in this department. But after being chased off-site by some security guards in a (thankfully Vauxhall Astra) van, we headed off for the real reason we headed north.
Fitting four hefty (used) wheels and tyres in the boot was a piece of cake for the Astra. The load bay is well shaped and large (even if the seats don’t fold fully flat), and once loaded, it was possible to slide the luggage cover across them, and remain flat in the process. Great!
As for the trip – it was in mixed conditions, mostly motorway, and never over 70mph. Average fuel consumption for the run was 48.1mpg. The only real disappointment of the day.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.