Fleet News

Vauxhall Astra Convertible 2.2 - 12,700 miles

Vauxhall

Review

EVERY time I get into the Astra Convertible I'm faced with the eternal dilemma of whether it is warm enough to have the roof down (on the rare occasions it isn't actually raining) - or run the risk of looking a complete nerd shivering in the cold.

And once I have decided to set off with the roof firmly in place I can't be bothered to stop and lower it. If only the British climate were better. I bet soft top drivers in the South of France don't suffer such problems.

This, however, has nothing to do with the car itself which continues to be great fun to drive, especially when you do get unbroken sunshine and can have the top down.

Although it's not the most frugal or environmentally friendly of engines, the 2.2-litre unit gives a fine responsive performance, powering the car from 0-60 in nine seconds. But then I don't think one expects super economy figures from what is essentially a sports car.

The practicality of having a convertible - particularly for a company car driver covering major distances - has come into question again.

Although noise levels are generally low despite the soft top, on a long journey road noise can become tiresome. Another downside is the restricted room in the boot, forcing suitcases or anything bulky to be carried on the back seat.

I agree with other Fleet News road testers who have complained about the uncomfortable driver's seat - every time I get in I try to adjust it to a more comfortable position, but to no avail.

Another niggle has been with the reliability of the roof. Although Vauxhall claims the roof only takes 20 seconds to lower, our Astra Convertible's top sometimes sticks and it can take the patience of a saint to lower it. Having said that the Astra is an enjoyable car to own, and at prices starting from just £18,995 on-the-road it is good value for money.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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