In every objective way there is a rather long list of cars that are better than the Fiat Panda 100hp. It's not especially stylish, fast or comfortable, but somehow it's just 'right'.
I had never really been inspired by Astra’s of old, or Vauxhalls in general for that matter, but when the Astra H was released around 2005 I began to change my opinion. It was the VXR in particular that took my fancy, however being in my early 20’s it was a little out of my price range.
Jump forward a few years and my beloved mk3 golf GTI was starting to empty my wallet, and seemed to be spending more and more time up on a ramp. Enter then my new Astra sport hatch. So it’s not the VXR that I always wanted, but insurance and petrol prices are as much an issue as they always have been, so it was the lesser 1.6 design that I settled for.
So, what’s there to say about it? Well after 2 years of ownership I have found it extremely reliable. There haven’t been any break downs or non-starts to speak of (touch wood), servicing, tax and insurance are all reasonable and the drive is smooth and comfortable.
Being a 1.6 petrol it was never going to set the world alight, but it is nippy enough for around town. Some may question why I didn’t opt for a diesel in this modern age of cleaner, more economical diesel engines – the simple answer is, I just didn’t want one. The world and his wife can bang on all day about the obvious benefits there are in terms of fuel economy etc, but I still find them to be noisy, smelly, smokey, and quite frankly, not for me. Interior finish is to a reasonable standard, and being the design spec it has part leather seats, which is nice!
With every car there are downsides, and the Astra is not without its faults. I have always preferred the look of three door cars, and still love the look of the Sport hatch – however there is always the big downside of people getting in and out of the back. This isn’t too big an issue on a day-to-day basis, but can prove frustrating when transporting more than one other person. The biggest issue by far with this car is the rear view visibility, you get some idea what it would be like to park a car whilst peering through your letter box, although it is something you do learn to live with.
The Roadster has now become my longest owned car. Every now and then I toy with selling it, trying to convince myself of the impracticalities of running it day to day but then I take it for a drive and the thoughts are dispensed with for another month or
Best thing about this car is that after 6 years of owning it I never been sleepy while drivig it, its hard to say it about Mercedes.
Camaro SS and a Cayman R on possibly the best road in the U.A.E
Growing up I had an outline of the types of car that I really wanted to own and experience, Iâ€™ve always been drawn to the seductive shapes of coupeâ€™s, even in my automotive design degree all my sketches were 2 doors rarely adding another door outline
The title suggests I am selling the M3, but that is not certain just yet. What is definite however, is that this is my last update.
In our last episode, I put aside reliability and fuel consumption worries and took the plunge into rotary ownership. I ended saying the car needed some reliability mods before hitting Cadwell Park â€“ but more of this later.
It's an unfortunate truism that all good things must come to an end. And whilst I adored my M5, warts and all, in the end the roses had to be smelt and it had to make way for something slightly more wallet-friendly.