In eight days in July I covered about 2000 kilometres in this car and I have to check now which model it was**.
You won’t be surprised to know I wanted an Astra estate. Sadly, on the July day in question Europcar in Flensburg offered me the choice to either
take the car shown or a VW Golf estate. “Perplexed” describes the look on the face of the Europcar rep when I answered immediately that I’d not be taking the Golf. I’d driven a Golf a while back and I didn’t want to repeat the experience, not over 8 days, not across the length of this lovely continent of ours.
When I look back at all the lovely places we drove to in the car, it is somewhat peculiar that I never got a chance or took the chance to photograph the car with a nice background. I kept forgetting to do this as other things seemed more fun to do.
For this review I won’t be consulting my notes. I don’t have any.
On the plus side, the car takes a pretty decent amount of luggage as the image below proves. Nothing had to be stowed in the passenger compartment. We even left the space under the false floor empty. I did miss storage space in the front of the car. My wallet and camera never truly found a comfortable perch. The front cupholders became a storage space which meant when I did have a cup of coffee the detritus had to move somewhere else (the floor).
Nothing stood out as being very bad. Normally I fly into fits of violent, unreasonable rage when the ergonomics are deficient. Now – note – the ergonomics did not please me. They did not displease me either. So, I dodged the Incredible Hulk moment easily.
Can I blame anyone for the lack of a CD player though? Are CDs so totally passé that they are not included? Nothing filled the freed space though, not even sat nav so I travelled Europe with a piece of paper and, at one point, a map of Germany at 1:10 scale (it seemed).
Nothing stood out as very good either. Of course, there was no rear centre arm-rest and no map pockets and no ashtray. Maybe they do that higher up the range. I’d call the seat comfort adequate and all the controls adequate as well. After getting out of the 406 we drove from mid Jutland to Flensburg, the brakes felt snatchy. I got used to them.
Ride? Fine, but not a patch on the twenty year old 406 with no great gain in handling to compensate. I have a photo of the car’s VIN plate because I could not find any other evidence of the engine size. It may have been a 1.4 because at autobahn speeds it needed 4000 rpm to keep up and we noticed the car demanded one more feed of petrol than we budgeted for.
I really wish I could have had the Astra.
((**For a fairer and much more positive review you can read this))