Ash let me have a drive in her Astra Saturday night when we went out ... the difference between my 1.4 SXi and her 1.6 Club is quite a bit considering they are basically the same cars.
To start with, the fuel consumption on the 1.6 was a heck of alot more than mine. I wasn't driving the car particularly hard, no harsh acceleration, just cruising along at 60. Filled up on the way home for her, drove 20 miles home, and the needle had moved a fair way off of the full mark. Was expecting it to use more fuel, being a slightly bigger engine and all, but not as much as it did - compared to mine, filled up Saturday morning, did 50-60 miles and it was still pretty much on full. Surprised by this, even though the 1.6 revs slightly lowering than the 1.4.
The comfort was another thing that got me. No matter what I did, just couldn't get comfy in the drivers seat. The lack of lumbar support really is noticeable with a seat which hasn't got so much "shape" and support of the bucket type SXi ones. I know the SXi has got majorly deep bucket seats, but the difference getting into and driving the Club from having driven an SXi for past 18 months was huge - just feels like there is 0 support for you at all.
Decided on way home to go for a drive along a couple of twisty country roads. Was surprised, the Club being slightly higher than the SXi (20mm difference IIRC), the road handling didn't seem too bad, although the ride comfort was smoother on the Club, bumps were ironed out nicely.
In all, I would still have my 1.4 anyday over the 1.6, purely for the fact of comfort. I can cope with the smaller engine, at the end of the day just means its going to take slightly longer to get to 70 etc on motorways. I think if I was going to upgrade my 1.4 for a bigger more powerful model, it would have to be for the 1.9 SRi after seeing what the fuel consumption was like on the 1.6.