by Tim Barnes-Clay, the man behind the wheel.
Date: 07 April 2012
THE NEW Astra GTC lays down the gauntlet to VW’s Scirocco and Renault’s Megane Coupe with a heady mix of dynamic excellence, dramatic design features and competitive pricing.
The car looks like it’s been yanked from the class above, with its low, wide stance and simple, yet rakish lines. In fact the only elements the GTC shares with its siblings are the door handles and the roof aerial – even the wheelbase and tracks are different.
But don’t be fooled: the GTC’s looks conceal a cabin that’s roomy and comfortable enough to accommodate four adults and their luggage. Storage volume inside has been improved by 50 percent over the current model. So while the GTC will appeal to car enthusiasts, its relative practicality should attract attention from fleet buyers and drivers with families too.
The Astra GTC can be ordered with a choice of four engines – one diesel and three petrols. All engines have six-speed transmission and Start/Stop as standard, maximising economy. With 138 bhp, the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, on test here, achieves up to 47.9 mpg, yet it still delivers an acceptable, if not blisteringly quick, performance of 0-62 mph in 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph.
Standard equipment is generous no matter which GTC model you choose. Even in entry-level Sport trim, the GTC comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, DAB stereo and USB functionality. In addition, a range of new colours and materials, bespoke to the GTC, set the car apart from other Astras.
As with all cars in Vauxhall’s line-up, the GTC comes with a 100,000 mile lifetime warranty, available to first owners. This is supported by 12 months’ Vauxhall Assistance breakdown cover and six years’ body panel anti-perforation warranty.