Regular readers of these Astra updates could be forgiven for thinking that my ownership experience to date has been tortuous.
And they’d be right – poor dealer service, an intermittent fault with the roof and vandalism have meant I dread leaving the house for fear of what I’ll find when I get to the car.
But running the TwinTop has not been as bad as the last few reports have made out.
Yes, the problems have been frustrating, but when I’m not visiting dealers, everything is rather pleasant.
And with problems (mostly not the car’s fault) now sorted out, I’m hopeful that I can enjoy some hassle-free motoring.
Last time I told of pretty unsatisfactory results from Marshall of Peterborough when it came to repairing a vandalised wing mirror and replacing a missing badge. Well, credit where it’s due, they’ve come good. Eventually.
The Astra was given the VIP treatment – it was picked up from the office, the wonky badge straightened perfectly and the wing mirror installed as new.
It took a couple of days due to efforts to find the cause of an intermittent problem with the electric roof.
Alas, nothing was found, although the glitch has not returned since.
The car was given a full valet and dropped off back to us. Very impressive.
While the Astra was away, I spent a few days in our other long-term convertible, the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe.
Despite being related by roof, the Mazda is a very different beast. Compared to the Astra, the smaller car’s handling is sublime.
I loved it.
But the Vauxhall beats the Mazda when it comes to practicality.
The MX-5’s boot is barely bigger than the glovebox, there are no back seats and it guzzles its way through a tank of fuel in no time.
Much as I love the MX-5’s driving experience, it’s good to be able to carry things and other people again, and not spend every other hour at the fuel pump.
Elsewhere, at some point someone has taken a large gouge out of the front nearside tyre, and a big chunk from the alloy wheel.
A hefty wallop on a kerb would be required to cause such damage.
I don’t remember doing it, so the finger of suspicion points at whichever colleague borrowed the car while I was driving other test vehicles.
The front tyres have been replaced, but the wheel still has to be repaired at some point. For now, however, I’m happy to have the car back.
Price: £20,465 (£22,615 as tested)
CO2 emissions 160
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £81 per month
Insurance group: 12
Combined mpg: 47.1
Test mpg: 42.2
CAP Monitor RV: £7,150/35%
Contract hire rate : £414
Expenditure to date: £12.95 (oil) £151 (tyres)
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles