Radiant sunshine has at last arrived in Britain, and I’ve been making the most of it.
Seldom has the roof of my Astra TwinTop been up, and my pasty white head is now nicely bronzed.
All well and good, but my head went beetroot red with rage when I returned to the car recently and discovered that a drunken youth had decided to use the nearside wing mirror to take out his frustrations with the world – with a skateboard.
The Astra was booked in to Marshall of Peterborough, who informed me there would be a two-week wait for a replacement wing mirror housing.
When it did finally arrive, it was fitted – badly. Compared with the tight fitment of the car as it arrived fresh from the factory, the subsequent replacement fitting doesn’t fit flush with the mirror unit.
And to add to the disappointment, the “i” from the CDTi badge on the back, which had fallen off during its first wash, was stuck on – badly. It no longer lines up with the C, D and T.
Overall, we’ve been disappointed with the level of customer service from Marshall, which is a shame as the rest of our experiences with the Astra have been positive.
The general concensus in the Fleet News office is that the TwinTop is the best-looking of the current crop of folding metal roof convertibles, especially from the rear three-quarter angle, as it doesn’t suffer from the “over-bottomed” look suffered by certain rivals.
The 150bhp CDTi turbodiesel engine is strong, refined and economical – I’m averaging 42mpg, which is closer than I usually get to a manutacturer’s claimed fuel economy figure, and there’s plenty of torque low down in the rev range, which makes driving relaxed.
With the roof down, it’s superb, especially with the windows up and the wind deflector in place, leaving the cabin turbulence-free.
As a result of the poor service we’ve experienced, we shall be trying out another local dealer in the future, hopefully with better results.
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: 47.1
Test mpg: 42.0
CAP Monitor RV: £7,025/35%
Contract hire rate: £418
Expenditure to date: £12.95 (oil)