Current mileage 12,101miles
Claimed economy 62.8mpg
Actual economy 49.6mpg
I’d been complaining that the Astra was beginning to feel a little on the baggy side on the run-up to its service – there were some clonking noises coming from the front suspension and that venerable 1.7-litre turbodiesel was beginning to sound a little on the rough-side. In the days before I booked VX61 GXF in to the garage, Vauxhall issued a press release about its new online servicing service – and I thought, what better opportunity to road test this new (to Vauxhall) feature.
I logged-on to www.vauxhall.co.uk, found the ‘Service Your Car’ link and filled in a few details – including what kind of service I needed, when I’d like it done and whether I’d like it collecting or not. Needless to say, I picked the comprehensive £249 option and added the Winter Care Package on top of that – all that was done in about five minutes – and, in another five, the local Dealer’s (York, Ward and Rowlett of Wellingborough) Service Manager was on the ‘phone, apologetically saying the date I’d chosen was unavailable. Well, so much for the online booking system.
No harm done, though – I simply chose a day I was in the office and just had them collect it. Oh, and just to make it tough for them, I didn’t give them a list of faults. That would be up to them to find. As promised they turned up at 9.30am to whisk away the Astra, and at 5.00pm, it was back in the office car park, looking clean and sparkly. Yes, I’d been racking up the miles without keeping it clean… not good.
The delivery driver had forgotten to bring the service sheet with him, but the service book was stamped, and the ‘Winter Pack’ on the passenger seat containing wax, de-icer and other bits and pieces looked like a good bundle for the extra £25. The delivery driver promised the garage would post it (they did) and, after he left, I jumped in and took the Astra for an extended drive. And – wow – what an improvement! The suspension knocks and groans have gone and the throttle response of the (now quieter) engine has been improved (has it had a software update?). Some other niggles have been sorted, too – such as the flaky iPhone connection, which now works perfectly.
We’ll see how the Astra stands up to the coming few months of hard work.
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.