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Took a new Astra SRi for a test drive today, and thought I'd post my opinions of the car versus my 3yr old Civic.

No doubt the new Astra is a far better car than the old model. Better styling and a far higher quality interior than the previous generation which was bland to say the least. I still much prefer the Civic interior though. It looks newer than the Astra despite the 3 year age difference.

The Civic is fairly well known for its hard ride and a bit of road noise intruding into the cabin, and in these respects the Astra has an edge. Excellent ride quality and quiet compared to the Civic.

The 1.4VVT turbo puts out 140bhp so the performance should be up to Civic standards, but I have to say the Civic is by far the better performer. The Astra feels a bit flat. Even with a turbo it still needs working hard to produce anything like the acceleration available in the diesel Civic.

On the handling front, the Civic is at least the equal of the Astra. I did a lap or two of a fairly smooth roundabout and the Astra seems to lean a little more than the Honda, and the steering felt a little vague and dead, but there is still plenty of grip. No better then the Civic to me though.

So, even though the Civic is about 5 years older than the Astra in design terms, it is still a better car overall.

I had no intention of buying the Astra anyway, but the dealers comedy routine on the part ex possibilities made it doubly sure I wasn't going to part with any cash!

I reckon I'll be sticking with my Civic for a good while longer yet.
 
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