It is really interesting thinking about what we look for in a family car now my children are slightly older at 9 and 10 and it is very different from when they were babies or even toddlers. No longer do we need to have a massive boot to take all the paraphernalia that comes with newborns, nope what we need now is a boot that is wipeable for muddy football boots!
Since we had Maxi ten (nearly eleven years ago) we have had two cars. I went from a large 7 seater when both the boys were babies and toddlers (well I did need a double pram or two prams) to a much smaller car. Now they are getting bigger and our needs have changed again!
Firstly I will always look at the safety record as I carry my most precious cargo in the rear of any car, my family. Both my boys still use high backed boosters, even though they possibly could get away without them, but they are safer and more comfortable in them.
Then it is all about keeping the kids happy in the back on long journeys. There is nothing worse than kids bickering in the rear of the car when I am trying to concentrate on driving. I like to not worry about them. We recently test drove the New Vauxhall Astra and even my non-Vauxhall loving husband fell in love with it.
MadDad is the main driver in our family. I love driving and will happily drive to London from the North East, but when he is about he likes to drive and who am I to say no to being a passenger! So he did the majority of the driving in the Astra and said that it was great. The driving position was comfortable, it had go and was certainly a car he would consider as his next car and that is saying something as he drives a lot of miles each week seeing his clients. We test drove the diesel and it was really economical getting is to Norfolk on just over half a tank of fuel.
It did start clean!
We loved Vauxhall Onstar
As a technological family, the Vauxhall Astra with Onstar is just amazing. Onstar gives you in car connectivity which is just ace. Why I hear you ask, well……
It turns your car into a mobile wifi hotspot – this is brilliant for us as the boys do not have mobile phones but they do have iPods etc and this game them internet access whilst in it. This was an epic win according to the kids. I have to admit that I loved it too and you can tether up to seven devices and due to the cars aerial you get a much superior signal to a standard mobile phone one. They could watch Netflix from the back of the car on our long journeys.
You can connect your smartphone to the car and access lots of diagnostics, such as tyre pressures, fuel level, but even better you can unlock the car with your phone, which we all loved! You can even enter your destination from the phone and send it to the sat nav.
If your car is stolen then Onstar can help the police locate the vehicle with its GPS function.
If you have an accident and can’t call for help, Vauxhall OnStar reacts instantly when your airbag inflates and connects you to aVauxhall OnStar advisor, who’ll talk to you in your chosen language (even if you’re abroad) via the hands-free speakerphone. It also sends a report including your location, travel direction, vehicle colour and the extent of the damage. Which provided me with such a sense of security, especially as I have had bad dreams about being injured in a ditch somewhere and no one even knowing!
Comfort and connectivity
If you asked the boys what they thought about the Vauxhall Astra then they will tell you it is all about how comfortable they were in the rear. They did two seven hour journeys and slept, played and never once complained. Maxi didn’t get travel sick, which was amazing. The fact that they had connectivity meant that the journey wasn’t a chore. They could play all the games they would at home and even watch iPlayer, Amazon Live or Netflix. Oh and they LOVED the fact that it had bum warmers or heated rear seats as they are really called.
They could even stream music from their devices through the car’s stereo and we could all listen, which made a change from them wearing headphones the whole journey.
As a Mum, if my kids are happy then that goes a long way to making me happy. Add that to the superior safety features and I LOVED the Vauxhall Astra. It was easy to drive even in driving rain, which there was a lot of.
I have to give a special mention to the “magic lights” not he technical term which the model we tested had. We live in the country and there are lots of lanes that are not lit, so you can often spend most of a journey dipping and listing headlights. Not with the Astra and its magic lights. The car is really clever and you drive with your lights on high beam the car senses when there is a car coming or in front and they need dipping. Like I said totally magical, not only for the driver but also any oncoming cars too!
Disclosure: We were loaned a Vauxhall Astra for a week in exchange for this post