Fleet News

Vauxhall Astra Coupe 2.2 Bertone Edition - 9,328 miles



##Coupe Turbo--right##The Astra Coupe has made some good friends while on our long-term fleet - misty-eyed production editors waxing lyrical about its speed, a member of the editorial department getting poetic about its Audi TT-like resemblance.

And despite smelling like a bike shop, which I have traced to the particularly pongy rubber mats in the footwell - Mr Sheen soon put an end to that — it has found a friend in me as well.

The Astra is compact and handsome, the arcing roof line sitting comfortably above the boxy body. It's just a shame the rear wheel arch looks so dwarfed, otherwise it would look even more sexy.

I found a number of friends reacted to my 'I've got an Astra' statement with frosty reserve, but cooed when they saw it, which must mean it's hitting the right notes. With the same buzzy alloy engine as the VX220 and well sorted handling, the Coupe is a car that ought to be pushed hard. And despite having a driving style that has resulted in a close personal friendship with the Exxon family, I managed to average about 35mpg, which is mightily impressive.

The engine really spins into life at 3,500rpm, and it flies along. The car stays flat and unfussed through high-speed bends and the traction control makes sure the front tyres do not get too torn up pulling away. The balance also seems right between ride and handling - the Astra is not too firm to shake the driver's fillings out on long motorway trips.

So all ticks in the 'I like Astra' boxes? Well, no. The cabin is hardly inspirational, and after 9,500 miles it has started to look rather dog-eared. Just adding some white dials and a grey central panel to a standard Astra interior doesn't really set your heart racing.

The seats in particular seem a bit lumpy and the extendable section under your thighs, while a good idea, is wobbly and gives the impression it might not last the distance. In terms of mechanical reliability, since the yo-yoing electric windows were fixed under warranty it would seem the Astra has flashed along for all its smiley-faced long-term drivers without any trouble.

At £16,650 on-the-road this is a cracking car for fleets, because it provides the real world viability of a Vauxhall for the manager, with that little extra coupe cherry on top for any style-conscious driver.

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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