Vauxhall Astra Hatch 2015 review: The name game
We have a nephew whose given name is Jumbles. Surprisingly, he assures us that he has never, ever, been bullied over this highly unusual tag.
Indeed, he tells us it has been a definite asset in his adult career running a school for cocktail waiters.
The lad’s sister is called Bubbles, which, likewise, has proved a usefully appropriate calling card in her business as a society-wedding planner on Portugal’s ritzy Algarve coast.
In both cases, what might have been a lifetime embarrassment has, thankfully, worked well.
Naming car models can be an equally tricky business, as Vauxhall/Opel infamously discovered when they tried to launch the Nova on the Spanish market years back only to discover that “No va” is Spanish for “It doesn’t go”.
Many manufacturers – BMW, Mercedes, Mazda and Peugeot among them – have taken the safe option and delineate their model groups by numbers rather than words.
However, like arch rivals Ford and VW, Vauxhall have stuck with the name game and, indeed, have just revived the Viva branding for the rump of their latest city car.
A few more letters than those four find their way into the brochure and web listings for the latest Vauxhall Astra. The snazzy version we drove for a week is titled, wait for it: “Astra Hatch Tech Line 1.6 CDTi (110PS) ecoFlex Start/Stop”!
You get more than just a very wordy name for the £18,910 you’ll have to lay down for this one. A highly comprehensive spec sheet lists, among other goodies: daytime running lights, air-con, cruise control, a reach and rake adjustable leather covered steering wheel; heated electric door mirrors, a sophisticated Navi 650 satellite navigation system and start/stop technology – as well as a low insurance rating.
With a 115 mph top speed potential and an 11.5-seconds 0-62 mph acceleration figure it might not be the fastest car in its sector out of the blocks but a new, considerably lighter chassis and an advanced 1598 CC power block, enable if to return a frugal 76.3 miles per gallon in the combined fuel consumption cycle.
It also brings the tax advantages of very low emissions. Now in its seventh generation, this latest edition of the American owned Anglo-German company’s big selling hatch takes on all the signature design cues, looking like a scaled down Insignia.
We found it to be a pleasant but unexciting drive, with low purchase price and frugal running costs as its most potent sales pitches. It’s fairly spacious and has a usefully deep boot.
Built in Ellesmereport, Cheshire, the new Astra marks another step forward in the dramatic revival in the British car manufacturing industry and is set to provide a more serious challenge than previously to the likes of Ford’s Focus and VW’s Golf.