A Mother’s Day road trip in the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer…
Mother’s Day comes full of expectations for that elusive day of rest, a lie in with breakfast in bed followed by a sunny stroll to the local restaurant for Sunday lunch. We build up the perfect vision in our mind and yet, kids will be kids and so often the day turns out a little less idyllic than in our imagination.
This year I was utterly spoilt to a Mother’s Day escape and the lovely people at Vauxhall sent me over the latest Astra Sports Tourer to try out on the way. Working on a day per child, I booked 4 wonderful days away and after the promised lie-in followed by tea and toast, packed up for a road trip.
The Astra Sports Tourer strikes me as the perfect all round vehicle; whilst being the ideal size for a family with 3 children, their respective car seats sitting comfortably across the back seat. It doesn’t feel too large for a couple who want the flexibility an estate offers and would be a smart company car, especially where your job requires a certain amount of equipment because there’s ample boot space. I’m not at all surprised it was awarded car of the year in 2016.
On first impressions the car has a really nice look, it’s back swoops low for that sporty feel whilst the chrome trimming gives it a luxury edge. The seats have been ergonomically designed and as soon as you get in you can tell you’ll be travelling in comfort as they mould around your body.
It’s quite a difference to my current car just based on age, not having any of the mod cons a newer car offers the touchscreen IntelliLink infotainment system is a novelty that immediately impresses. My iPhone neatly plugs into a USB socket in the armrest and is immediately connected via Apple CarPlay. Now I can have Siri read and send messages, answer my calls and play music via voice control. The system also has built-in DAB making it much easier to tune into your favourite station and the all important Sat Nav. There’s also an extension of this digital display behind the steering wheel giving an option of displays speedometer, petrol gauge, trip details and more; this screen also shows upcoming turns when using the navigation system.
When it comes to Tech, I feel this car has it all; driving the Elite model meant we also had Vauxhall’s brand new OnStar connectivity and service assistant as standard. OnStar is absolutely full of features, it offers 24hr emergency assistance and complete peace of mind. Connecting to an app it keeps track of your car, can locate it in case of theft, diagnose problems and immediately sends help in an accident. On top of that, an OnStar assistant can help you find local places and send the details directly to your vehicle’s navigation system. Finally, and I think most significantly when you have tween children; it creates you a personal in-car 4G hotspot which up to 7 devices can connect to!
As a mummy blogger, I was totally wowed by the car before we’d even driven off. Waiting for a class to finish or those times the tot falls asleep in the back would no longer be wasted time with the Vauxhall almost offering a complete mobile office! The children could both connect to WiFi and with USB points in the back, charge their devices, surely stressful family journeys would be a thing of the past with them digitally entertained!
This drive, however, would be of the very rare peaceful variety and with the car’s sat nav to guide us, there wouldn’t even be any potential problems with my navigation skills. Complete and individual driver/passenger climate control, heated seats in front and rear, heated steering wheel and air wellness fragrancing meant that a long motorway drive couldn’t be more comfortable. We were heading to Cornwall and a wonderfully peaceful place we’ve found near Looe called Stonerush Lakes. These luxury lodges sit over a babbling brook and with their own private hot tubs are just what the doctor ordered for relaxation time!
To drive, the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer handles like a dream. I was actually worried I wouldn’t know what to say about an actual drive experience but my husband called it the most responsive car he’d ever driven and that’s exactly how it feels. Everything about this car feels very intuitive, the adjustable seats and shaped steering wheel give you a great and very comfortable driving position. There wasn’t really anything that didn’t feel like it wasn’t in the right place. So often when I swap cars I keep knocking the wrong lever and haven’t got used to the change until I get back in my old car and keep hitting the wrong lever back there! I was a little intimidated by the electric break and assisted hill starts and thought the parking sensors might drive me loopy, yet as soon as you get used to these things you realise how much ease they bring to the driving experience.
Can you tell how disappointed I’ll be to hand my Astra back!? Before children, I was always allured by the hatchback version and now I am lusting after this family estate. The features it offers certainly aim to take the edge of the daily grind. The car utilises modern technology to offer extra comfort and safety. One of my absolute favourites of all it’s features is as simple as the double click boot lift on the keyless remote and button to close. With many hands to hold and shopping to carry the difference this little thing offers is huge!
The Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer is listed from £17,665 and the Elite Nav version we tested £21,815 and with Vauxhall offering flexible financing and leasing options I’d highly recommend taking one for a drive if you’re considering a new family car. For full prices, details and to view the entire range, visit Vauxhall’s Website.
~ Vauxhall loaned us the Astra Sports Tourer to drive in return for our honest opinion ~