We did the classic Adams walk-around, during which he pointed out how familiarly Vauxhall design features – such as the Vizor grille and lights treatment, the central ridge of the bonnet, the strong rear haunches and the flared wheel arches – all strongly maintained the Vauxhall look but had all been “progressed” to make the point about modernity. In my time with the 1.2 GS Line, I’d already checked the effectiveness of the car’s looks with friends and family members and established that they were content that these cars were very much fresh-faced new Vauxhalls.

This aligns with my own views. I’m especially impressed with both cars’ low seating position and sporty stance. Also the ‘detox’ principles of the simplified but inviting interior design. These are unashamed hatchbacks (offering the benefits of lower weight and lower frontal area) in an era when most designers are keen to blur the barriers between hatches and SUVs.

I also approve of Vauxhall’s willingness to build colourful cars – the Electric Yellow of the Ultimate PHEV is a definite improvement on the Vulcan Grey of the 1.2 GS Line – and combining bright body colours adds another level of distinction. The only issue (as I’m finding) is that keeping a colourful car looking good in winter can be quite a chore.

I’ve been surprised by the driving similarities between the 1.2 and 1.6 PHEV. Their steering, braking, ride qualities and handling balance are pretty similar. The steering is quick and heavier than many. The ride is firm but very well-damped (and I’ve yet to notice a weight drawback in the PHEV, although the difference is a whopping 412kg). Both roll a bit on corners but not uncomfortably. They offer a tinge of stabilising understeer and throttle steer a bit but never get close to oversteer.

I’ve yet to do many miles in the 1.6 PHEV, but I’m already at odds with the 42 electric miles officially claimed for it. In the dead of winter, ‘my’ car offers 18-20 miles via its own trip computer and delivers about 25 if you’re careful. I’m sure it’ll improve in warm weather, but I’m confident it’ll never reach 42 in my real world. Because I live 90-odd miles from the office, the PHEV is currently showing 59.9mpg over 1500 miles, not so much better than the basic 1.2 turbo’s early 50s. My routine isn’t ideal for PHEVs.


Source link

Load More By Michael Smith
Load More In Automotive
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Autocar magazine 1 February: on sale now

[ad_1] This week in Autocar, we put Porsche’s new 911 ‘SUV’ through its paces, break the s…