When I introduced our new Astra TwinTop back in June, I lamented the quality of the weather.
Well, it hasn’t got any better. Those of you thoroughly disgruntled with our alleged summer should direct your complaints to our motoring editor. When he assigned me the car, he invoked Sod’s Law in all its sodden fury.
Needless to say, it’s been quite frustrating as the Astra is rather fun to drive on the few occasions when the sun has shone. With the roof down and the optional windbreak (£150) up, wind intrusion is minimal. Even motorway journeys can be enjoyed without arriving deaf and with hair from hell.
But such journeys have been rare, and have on several occasions called for a rapid roof deployment. The Astra’s mechanical ballet may not be especially quick, but being able to do it on the move at up to 18mph is a great help.
So for most of the time the TwinTop has been a regular coupe, and it makes a good job of it. With the roof up, there’s no need to have the load cover over the boot, which provides far more room than with it down.
There have been a few niggling problems, however. The first time I washed the car, the “i” from the CDTi badge fell off.
The Astra has also picked up a couple of mysterious scratches. Colleagues that have used it deny any knowledge, but I’m sure they weren’t there when I left it. Most of them are on the bootlid lip – as the boot opens in reverse when the roof is deployed, this suggests that someone has parked too close to a wall when retracting the roof.
More of a worry has been a couple of glitches that seem to come and go. Twice the complex roof-folding mechanism has seized, mid-change. Turning the ignition off and on has sorted it out but, with only a few thousand miles on the clock, it’s a bit of a worry. Will the roof work properly in a few years’ time? Second-hand buyers will want assurances that it will, or residuals could suffer.
(Speaking of residuals, I must hold my hand up to a mistake in the last report, where I quoted the figures for a three-year/30,000-mile vehicle rather than three-year/60,000 – it’s 35% and not 41%. Sorry.)
Of most concern, but still a mystery, has been a strange smell that has reared up twice. It’s an electrical type of whiff, but I have no idea where it’s coming from. It only lasts for a couple of minutes before vanishing.
A visit to the dealer is imminent – I’ll update you next time.
Price: £20,465 (£22,615 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 160
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £79 per month
Insurance group: 12
Combined mpg: 52.3
Test mpg: 47.1
CAP Monitor RV: £7,125/35%
Contract hire rate: £403
Expenditure to date: £12.95 (oil)
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles