Vaux­hall As­tra 1.6 CDTi

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORING -

WHY oh why can’t some driv­ers cope with a lit­tle snow?

Dur­ing my time with this week’s test car I had to go to an­other new car launch in the East Mid­lands, which co­in­cided with the re­cent snow­fall.

My trans­port was the lat­est Vaux­hall As­tra, the very ca­pa­ble 1.6 CDTi five door ecoFLEX diesel – and it proved much more up to the job than many of my fel­low trav­ellers.

Many years ago I was the proud owner of a 1986 As­tra GTE. It was very quick and very white with great big al­loys, a big rear spoiler and a dig­i­tal dash – very cut­ting edge for the 1980s – and I loved it.

Back then al­most ev­ery other car seemed to be a (more ba­sic) As­tra or Es­cort and I am sure Vaux­hall would love to get back to such a big mar­ket share. Good cars like the lat­est As­tra are a step in the right di­rec­tion as it looks great, is com­fort­able, well-equipped and fun to drive – 136bhp with a 0-62 time of 9.7 sec­onds and 125mph top speed.

It’s fru­gal too with more than 74mpg claimed for a long run and 59 around town (67 com­bined). There’s lots of space as well and good lug­gage ca­pac­ity.

Stan­dard fea­tures in­clude air con, ESP, day­time run­ning lights, CD/MP3 CD player, cruise con­trol, smart 17in al­loys, sports sus­pen­sion and am­bi­ent light­ing.

But – and it’s quite a big but – the on-the-road price of our test car was £26,125… for an As­tra!

I seem to re­mem­ber there were so many As­tras on the roads a decade or two ago be­cause it was so af­ford­able.

Now there were a few ex­pen­sive ex­tras (in­clud­ing a pricey sat nav up­grade at £1,200) and the ba­sic price is £22,335 but I think Vaux­hall may have strayed a bit too far ‘north’ with this one.

How­ever, all is not lost if you do want an As­tra as the range starts at a much more rea­son­able £15,409 for the al­most as good 1.4i De­sign.

See vaux­

●» The lat­est As­tra looks great, is com­fort­able, well-equipped and fun to drive

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