ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: Vauxhall Astra GTC SRi 1.7 CDTi 16V
With attractive coupe styling and bright yellow paintwork, this Astra GTC is certainly an eye-catcher, but as DAVID HOOPER found out, it’s economical diesel engine means it won’t cost a fortune to run.
THIS attractive-looking Astra GTC three-door coupe from Vauxhall drew plenty of attention during my few days with the car.
Perhaps it was because of the bright yellow paint job – other colours are available – but I think it was more likely due to the car’s desirable styling.
It’s a good-looking coupe and received several complements from friends and even one or two colleagues who were initially attracted by its bright paintwork, but then on closer inspection, admired its styling.
Having already driven the GTC-based VXR model and compared it to Ford’s new Focus ST, I knew roughly what to expect, but this diesel-powered car is a little less hard-core, arguably more comfortable, but almost comparable in the driving experience and handling terms.
Under the bonnet was Vauxhall’s 1.7-litre CDTi diesel engine, which is also used in the new Mokka, which has just gone on sale. It’s actually quite an old engine now and makes its presence known to a greater degree than some of its rivals, especially when cold, but is impressively economical.
During my test of over 600 miles, which I almost completed on a single tank of fuel, the car averaged 56.5mpg overall, which I think is very good as a lot of the driving was done at motorway speeds. Many cars claim high mpg figures, but few achieve match their claims in the real world – although it is still considerably lower than the official claimed figure of 62.8mpg on the combined cycle.
Being a coupe, the doors are long, and I did have trouble squeezing back into the car when someone had parked too close to the car in a motorway service station. Access to the rear of the car isn’t too difficult, and once installed, there is room for up to five people, and full sized adults can sit comfortably in the back.
Once inside though, in the SRi trim of this particular model, it was a pleasant place to be. The sports seats were trimmed in leather with white stitching detail, a theme which continued onto the door cards. The seats were also heated, which is a lovely when the weather starts to turn colder as we head into winter.
The equipment levels were good – there was air conditioning which had to be adjusted manually, two 12V sockets which are handy for powering phones and children’s games machines, Vauxhall’s latest sat nav system, complete with Bluetooth and an easy to use phone interface.
On the leather-trimmed steering wheel were controls for the cruise control system, which also featured a speed limiter function – handy for those 50mph motorway limits in the roadworks. On the opposite side, were volume and telephone controls.
Automatically activated lights and wipers are always useful and are becoming an increasingly standard feature on many cars, and to save space, there was an electronic parking brake on the centre console.
On the road, the car drives very well, completing the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 9.0 seconds. There is a potential top speed of 120mph, but in between these figures is where this car is happiest. It pulls well through the gears and can easily cope with overtaking A-road traffic when the need arises.
It is also quite good fun to punt down your favourite country roads, with a taught but comfortable chassis taking road surface and swift direction changes in its stride. The steering is nicely weighted and provides plenty of feedback to the driver, although I did notice the turning circle was bigger than I would have liked, meaning manoeuvres I can usually do in one go needed a bit of reversing.
The perimeters of the GTC are quite difficult to judge, particularly rearwards, thanks to limited visibility caused by the car’s large C-pillars, so the parking sensors front and rear are definitely worth having as optional extras.
I like the GTC and its large alloy wheels certainly finished off its sporting good looks. It even comes with plenty of boot space and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, so it scores on the practicality front, too.
It’s a good-looking car which in the right colour can turn plenty of heads for a lot less money than some far more exotic machinery – and it’s just as good to drive!
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Vauxhall Astra GTC SRi 1.7 CDTi 16V
ASTRA GTC RANGE: From Sport 1.4 16v Turbo Start/Stop 3dr (£19,040) to SRi 2.0 CDTi 16v Auto 3dr (£24,400).
ENGINE: 1686cc, 130PS four-cylinder diesel engine, driving front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 122mph.
0-62mph in 10 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 54.3mpg.
Fuel tank: 56 litres.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 119g/km.
INSURANCE: Group 17.
WARRANTY: Lifetime care, 100,000 miles.
• All data correct at time of publication.