Current mileage: 10,023 miles
Claimed economy: 62.8mpg
Actual economy: 46.4mpg
Just over a month in to Astra Sports Tourer ownership and we’ve already clocked up over 3000 miles. And it has to be said that this is a car that seems to thrive on long distance running – which would explain why the engine’s loosening-up nicely, and performance and economy just seem to be getting better.
The latest long journey undertaken in the Astra was a three-up fully-laden trip to Scotland’s Western Highlands. This is the sort of job that the 1.7CDTi is built for, and as expected, once in its long-striding sixth gear, the seemingly uphill slog to Scotland’s empty west was an easy one-shot run. Before the trip, we’ve been averaging a constant 45mpg before the trip – good, but about 5mpg short of what we’d expect a VW Golf 1.6TDI to deliver in the same circumstances.
Before the trip, I brimmed the tank, reset the counter, and was disappointed to see that the trip computer was reporting an anticipated range of 520 miles. Again, good, but somehow I expected a little more. But once, rolling on the A1, cruise set to 70mph, that figure rather agreeably began to go up. By the time we hit Glasgow, we’d covered 300 miles and the gauge was reporting that the tank was still half full. More like it. Given that we’d be heading for the wilds of Scotland – the world of high fuel prices – we refuelled here, and quickly calculated or mpg the old fashioned way. And guess what – 51.6mpg. Better.
But don’t get the impression we’re obsessing about fuel consumption. The long-striding Astra Sports Tourer proved that once away from the motorway, it’s a bit of a laugh on back roads. The handling is keen, with tidy turn-in, and steering is nicely weighted for those who like to crack on. But overtaking is a bit of a drag without a long run-up – the 2.0-litre with 165bhp would certainly alleviate that.
A week in Scotland with the Astra certainly gave us more time to warm to it. And it’s mostly good – it really is the driver’s choice in this sector, and devilishly handsome, too, if a little anonymous. It’s not perfect – the front three-quarter visibility is difficult in twisty roads, the infotainment system only intermittently picks up my iPhone through its data cable, and the power delivery is a little peaky – but it’s incredibly competent without being boring. Professional is the best way of describing it.
On the (seemingly) down hill run from Scotland – a 400-mile non-stop motorway non-stop – fuel consumption once again topped 50mpg. It’s just getting better – a nice thought to consider as the odometer nudges through the 10,000-mile mark…