Find a car review

Make
Model
Long term tests

Vauxhall Astra VXR - Fast Fleet

It's all tyre-talk with the Astra this month: 4 new ones, and the lack of a spare

The Astra is wearing a set of new Michelin Pilot Exaltos this month, the original ContiSportContact 2s having come to the end of their useful life after an admirable 25,000 miles.

I’ve had previous good experience with Exaltos on a Clio 172 I owned a while back, so they seemed worth a shot in 225/40/18 size on the VXR. I’m not disappointed. Grip levels feel on a par with the Contis at their fittest, but there’s now a more progressive loss of grip as the front edges into understeer. It’s a welcome characteristic that makes KE55 both more relaxing and more fun to punt along a tricky B-road. Good stuff.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

One thing that’s not so good is the VXR’s lack of a spare wheel. This was brought home to me shortly after having the Michelins fitted, when I found myself stood on a petrol station forecourt watching one of them drop from 32 to zero psi in 30 seconds flat.I’d been adjusting the pressures when the air-hose nozzle snagged on the thread around the top of the valve, causing it to split from the valve stem behind (which, on the VXR, is made from metal rather than more-forgiving rubber). The tyre sealant kit was clearly going to be no use here…

Thankfully, as it was the middle of the day, the ever-helpful Central Tyre of Wellingborough was able to come to the rescue (cheers, Matt), but had it happened at 10pm I’m sure it would have taken a lot longer than half an hour to get mobile again. Saving weight is all well and good, but as we discovered at eCoty 2006, there’s a lot to be said for carrying a spare wheel.

Running Costs

Date acquiredFebruary 2006
Total mileage27,085
Costs this month£516 (four tyres)
Mileage this month2,705
MPG this month31.7mpg
Advertisement
Advertisement

Have You Considered

Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019
Visit/mercedes/201726/mercedes-amg-electric-car-to-target-porsche-taycan-and-tesla-model-s
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG electric car to target Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S

10 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/18328/2020-volkswagen-id3-revealed-vws-electric-revolution-is-here
Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 revealed - VW’s electric revolution is here

9 May 2019

Most Popular

Visit/electric-cars/201750/volkswagen-id3-r-considered-the-next-generation-golf-r
electric cars

Volkswagen ID.3 R considered – the next-generation Golf R

Bosses confirm a hot electric VW is under consideration, and we could see it within the next five years
12 Sep 2019
Visit/features/17721/the-best-family-cars-that-are-fun-to-drive
Best cars

Best family cars that are still fun to drive

Saloon, hatchback or SUV, family cars come in all shapes and sizes, and needn’t be a snore to drive. These are some of the team’s favourites.
13 Sep 2019
Visit/land-rover/defender/22607/new-land-rover-defender-2020-4x4-arrives-with-big-muddy-boots-to-fill
Land Rover Defender

New Land Rover Defender – 2020 4x4 arrives with big, muddy boots to fill

The new Land Rover Defender is finally here and can get on with the serious business of replacing a much-loved off-road icon
11 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019