The excellent news that General Motors has committed to the UK for future production of the Astra means that the Vauxhall marque maintains an important foothold in its home market.
To celebrate, AROnline is running an Astra SRi Sport Tourer for the next six months – and to see how one of the UK’s favourite family cars and work horses stands up to the day-to-day rigours thrown up as part of a writer’s hectic lifestyle.
Every day hero
When Vauxhall announced that Astra production was to remain in the UK back in May, the cheers from Ellesmere Port could be heard all across the land. Considering the UK economy is mired in its worst (double dip) recession in living memory, the good news from GM was yet another fillip for our car industry, which is actually going through something of a renaissance in 2012 – what with Jaguar Land Rover recording record sales, and Toyota, Nissan and Honda all taking on more workers…
So we know that Vauxhall is doing well in the UK, and its product line-up is probably at its most appealing in a generation – and that meant that when we found ourselves in the market for a new hold-all and support vehicle, we had no hesitation in choosing an Astra Sport Tourer 1.7CDT SRi. Compared with its close rival, the Focus, the Astra currently lacks an eco-petrol powertrain option like the brilliant new Ford Ecoboost, but the 1.7-litre CDT option delivers plenty of performance, economy and low-tax driving.
We’ll run through and introduce the car fully in the coming days, and the reasons why we chose the model we did – but for now, we’ll just say that after a week and 1200-miles, the Astra’s performing marvellously, whisking us to the North of England and back in a day, and then chasing a supercar across Europe the following weekend, without missing a beat, and delivering an average of 46mpg over some very hard driving. It’s easy to see why so many business users plump for the good-looking Astra – in very little time, it’s become an indispensable tool for us, too.
More to follow, soon…