Since my last report, the Vauxhall Astra has received two major industry awards: it has been named both best lower medium car at the Fleet News Awards and European car of the year. And, having spent around 4,500 miles behind the wheel of our long-term test car, I can see why.
Our Astra has continued to be an impressive package, offering a fine mix of performance, economy, handling and comfort: it’s also a very easy car to live with. Its Intellilink multimedia system features sat-nav, digital radio, and full Bluetooth phone and iPod connectivity.
The Astra makes songs and podcasts, etc., easy to locate either through the menu system or the voice recognition function, while the multimedia interface has a few nice touches to enhance the user experience. One my favourites is that if you stop listening to a podcast midway through, when you return to it the audio restarts from a few seconds beforehand so you have a brief recap of what was being said. And the Bluetooth function backs up the impression that plenty of thought has been put into how the multimedia system operates.
For example, if you receive a text message while driving, the system will alert you on the instrument panel and, if you press the ‘tick’ button on the steering wheel, will read it aloud.