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I had the dubious pleasure of driving one of these to Skye and back this week.

The steering was far too light and indirect. The sight lines are terrible. The Windscreen is raked too much and driving position is too far back. The arrangement of the 'Pillar, quarter light and side window makes it feel like driving a video game as there is little, or no, peripheral view.
There's no handbrake, just a button which you lift to put the parking brake on and push down to release. You also have to put your foot on the brake pedal at the same time as you release the park brake, making any sort of hill start absolutely impossible :eek::thinks:

On the plus side. It feels pretty solid (although some of the plastics leave a bit to be desired) and economy seems very good. I had the 1.7 turbo diesel and covered the 440 odd miles to Sky and back in 3/4 a tank. Pretty impressive:thumbs:.
Apart from that, completely soulless :(
 
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I drove a few Astras at the launch preview event at Millbrook last year and was impressed with the car.

I thought the seating position was fine, and although it is not as "edgy" as a 156, I found it was a good drive with great grip on the SRi versions over the hill circuit, and excellent refinement. (I avoided the cheaper trim levels)

With regard to the parking brake - this is becoming a common feature on mid-range VW's and Renaults - not to mention BMW's/Audis etc.
There must be a misunderstanding regarding the operation - as there IS a Hill Start mechanism, very similar to the 159 and Fiat system, where the foot brake holds for a period of time and releases as you increase revs and engage the clutch. On the Renault Scenics if you apply the parking brake, it will release when you release the clutch with the car in gear and the revs rising above a certain level - I think the Opel/Vauxhall version, when correctly adjusted, is supposed to do the same. I think its a system that the manufacturers buy-in from Bosch (?) as part of the ABS/Stability control package.
 

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I hate those type of handbrake systems with a passion.

There is nothing wrong with a conventional handbrake so why bother trying to re-invent something that doesn't need it.

Vauxhall would be better off trying to make the cars drive better, rather than messing about with gimmicks like that. The same goes for the stupid indicator stalks they fit, the ones that self center after turning them on, then switch the other direction when you try and cancel them.
 
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I have to dissagree, the electronic handbrakes are amazing. On a hill start No faffing about, press the button and drive off. simple. I dont tend to use the handbrake on a hillstart just the foot brake then quickly move to the gas. So it is probably safer for me, too. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
With regard to the parking brake - this is becoming a common feature on mid-range VW's and Renaults - not to mention BMW's/Audis etc.
There must be a misunderstanding regarding the operation - as there IS a Hill Start mechanism, very similar to the 159 and Fiat system, where the foot brake holds for a period of time and releases as you increase revs and engage the clutch.
The same goes for the stupid indicator stalks they fit, the ones that self center after turning them on, then switch the other direction when you try and cancel them.
Mike, the 'Handbrake' in the one I drove deffinatley did not hold for a few seconds. I had to act pretty quickly on a couple of occasions when the car rolled as soon as the switch was depressed and my foot lifted :tut:. I've driven the Renault system as well and it strikes me as far safer as the release is part of the button set up, I.E. no need to use the foot brake :thumbs: (that's not to say I'm a fan of Renault). It scares me a bit to hear you say you thought the driving position was OK. I'm not a tall bloke (5'10" on a good day), but I found the sight lines diabolical.

Symon, in Vaxhaul's defence, they have replaced the daft indicator stalk for one that actually works now. Push it up, or down until it clicks, it stays where it's put until you turn or cancel it.
 
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I never used the handbrake or the Hill hold on the Astra I don't think - could it be that it only works when you depress the footbrake and you aren;t supposed to use the "handbrake" at all? Just a thought - or of course, the one you drove could have been faulty.

I am 6 feet tall and I had no trouble in a) getting comfortable and b) being able to see out. I am aware that the relationship between the seat position, windscreen and "A" pillar, has changed substantially in modern vehicles compared with the 156/147 era, but I have never ever had a problem and I have driven a wide range of vehicles over the past few years. Modern "windscreen forward" designs are a small price to pay for five star NCAP crash test ratings.
 
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How the **** do you get through an mot without a proper handbrake?

Given Vauxhall's stunning reinvention of the indicator stalk, letting them go nuts with the brakes seems doomed to failure.
 
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How the **** do you get through an mot without a proper handbrake?

Given Vauxhall's stunning reinvention of the indicator stalk, letting them go nuts with the brakes seems doomed to failure.
Merc's have been getting away with it for years with their weird foot operated "handbrake" and release knob.

Can't understand the fascination with handbrakes - for years I made do with a brick and two wooden wedges on a Ford Escort.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
for years I made do with a brick and two wooden wedges on a Ford Escort.
:lol: Ah, the good ol' escort. There was I time when I was party to one with no clutch cable. It still went :lol: Life was simpler then. :thumbs:

Still think the sight lines are rubbish though and I wasn't aware of any visability issues driving the MiTo.

I'll be intrested to see what happens with the future development of the "handbrake" in these cars.
 

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i thought electronic handbrakes / parking brakes were the future ????
Not if you can't do a hill start :lol:

Still, Vaxhaul have an 'interesting' history when it comes to handbrakes, don't they ;)

Damn. I've just remembered, I didn't try the lights and horn thing :slaphead:
 
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Not if you can't do a hill start :lol:

Still, Vaxhaul have an 'interesting' history when it comes to handbrakes, don't they ;)

Damn. I've just remembered, I didn't try the lights and horn thing :slaphead:
ive been in a scenic with an auto elec pb and hill starts were no problem, infact the wole thing was a lot easier as you didnt have to bother with the pb as it was fully auto. dont ask me how it works but it did :)

anyway whats the lights & horn test on a (dis)astra???
 

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My folks have bought one, a 1.4 Exclusiv to be exact and that has a normal handbrake. It is utterly gutless for a 100Hp (their Mk4 1.6 105 was far better). Acres of plastic and practically nothing as standard. Because they're getting on a bit they didn't haggle at all and paid 17k for it. Suddenly the Alfa range look excellent value for money!
 

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I am suprised no one has invented a car with an electric driven alternator.
 

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Thanks UKMike2008,

I drove one yesterday. I didn't look in the handbook.

I was just applying the handbrake and then driving off without releasing it.

It was a white 5 door petrol turbo 6 gears. I was only using it in an urban area with only one short blat along the Bypass.

I'm not quite 6 foot, the A pillars didn't present any problem me. I've driven something in the last year that had far more obstructive A pillars.

The C pillars look like they'd obscure cars and motorcyclists but it wasn't a problem yesterday.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ive been in a scenic with an auto elec pb and hill starts were no problem, infact the wole thing was a lot easier as you didnt have to bother with the pb as it was fully auto. dont ask me how it works but it did :)

anyway whats the lights & horn test on a (dis)astra???
I agree. The system in the scenic is a lot better as you don't have to use your foot atall (i.e. the 'release' surrounds the PB button).
The last model of the Astra and Vectra had a problem where, if you put the lights on the horn didn't work on many cars :thinks:
 

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It had DAB - I don't need all that information about the R4 series I'm listening to displayed on the middle of the dash.

That electric handbrake switch should be a 3 inch by 2 inch push button on the top of the middle of the centre of the dash by the steering wheel.

I had to look down for the handbrake switch when stopping uphill behind a queue of traffic at some traffic lights.

I quite liked the car other than that. But it's new and white and not mine.
 

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To me, the new Astra looks like something that should have been the outgoing model's predecessor rather than it's successor - it looks soooooo dull!
 

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Does it have DAB?

The display shows an aerial with FM or AM next to it. So if FM can carry data about the show being received what do I need DAB for.

You can drive off with the handbrake on. It releases.

It's difficult to remember whether you've put the handbrake on when you leave the car.

Sat in the drives seat, the NS C post can be there in the peripheral vision like you're carrying a plank or fishing rods.

It's not that bad. I can't see what it looks like from the driving seat. I passed a black parked one earlier. Looked quite classy to me. A hint of VW about the headlamps?
 
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