Well got back Saturday evening after a 3-day trip to Jerez to see the new Astra. What a car!!!
Usually when I go to a launch I dont get the woo factor, usually takes a few drives etc. pnce we get the car in before I really start to warm to it (the new Vectra for example). But from the moment the car was unveailed on Friday evening I had the woo factor, especially when the covers were taken off the estate and the 3-door.
Friday we spent the morning at Jerez race track doing a series of workshops i.e. in regards to styling, how some of the features of the car work,options available etc. Then we were taken out on the track for a demo of how the ESP+ works on teh Astra (the origionally idea would be that a rally.race driver drove for 1 lap, the the occupants for 2, however due to low lying mist this was not possible and the race driver drove for 3 laps).
From there we were taken in a specially designed lorry where-by 4 new Astra done a moving display (which was pretty impressive). Whiclst at the race ciscuit we got to see the full 5-door line up, life thorugh to SRi, and also an SRi with the new Vauxhall (not ) optional bodykit, it looks stunning, without a doubt.
After lunch I then drove the 1st leg of the test drive, a 2 hour drive to a country club, this was done in a 1.6 Twinport Astra (around SXi spec). The car drove brilliantly, the whole feel of the car was of an VW Audi style (but it waaay out classes the Golf). The 1.6 seemed very flat and a bit lathargic, but nice all the same.
After a quick break it was into a 1.7CDTI (100ps version), for the 2nd leg to our new hotel. As with all the new CDTI engines, it pulled brialliantly, and was even better to drive.
The Astra is packed with some very impressive features, including a Sports button on the SXi etc, when pressed it gives the engiens better perfromance, stiffer suspension and quicker steering. Dial set out is very Audi like,size wise the car is the same as the current car, but has more room inside, and feels like a bigger car to drive. Some upcoming features of the car include keyless entry (similar to the Renault system), AFL headlights (as on Vectra), Tyre deflation detectors (as on Vectra), as well a a host of other features.
Overall teh car gets 5 stars in my book, and once the VXR 3-door comes out I think Ill definately be putting an order in for one (although I dont think the VXR will be out for a while yet given the 3-door wont be out until around Spring 2005, wouldnt expect a VXR until around early 2006).
As an extra bonus at our dinner on the Friday evening they also unvailed the new Tigra. Looks a bit chunky with the hod up, but a lot sleeker when down, it also haas a fairly quick operation and is a lot better than the 206CC.