The forgotten hot hatch

The forgotten hot hatch

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Discussion

rev-erend

20,090 posts

229 months

Thursday 12th September
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The Sunbeam Lotus is a forgotten hot hatch of its day. Made around 1978..

Seat Leon FR (182 bhp diesel) quick and very frugal.

GeordieInExile

608 posts

65 months

Thursday 12th September
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rodericb said:
They are a very nice looking car. Nicely solid looking and with a minimum of rice burner fakevent.
Definitely a good thing it's not covered in too much chintz but on the whole I think this generation of Astra just looks bloated, even in super-sporty, massive wheels spec.

I always liked the previous gen, though. My folks had the rung below, an SRi with 180bhp from a 2.0 litre turbo. Nippy enough and quite a nice place to sit. Decent handling too with none of the torque steer issues of the VXR.


Deep Thought

23,720 posts

142 months

Thursday 12th September
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rev-erend said:
The Sunbeam Lotus is a forgotten hot hatch of its day. Made around 1978..
Hardly forgotten if prices now for good examples are anything to go by....

Court_S

1,174 posts

122 months

Thursday 12th September
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The first gen were pretty popular despite the handling being panned by the likes of Top Gear. Still see a few knocking about with the very silly 888 exhausts on them. I think they manage to have an even worse image than the ST of the same era.

The second generation ones don’t appear to have sold well at all but then again most of those who would have been the target demographic for the first gen ones appear to have moved onto German metal judging by the local Maccy D’s car ark in the evening.

DanielSan

14,364 posts

112 months

Thursday 12th September
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GeordieInExile said:
Definitely a good thing it's not covered in too much chintz but on the whole I think this generation of Astra just looks bloated, even in super-sporty, massive wheels spec.

I always liked the previous gen, though. My folks had the rung below, an SRi with 180bhp from a 2.0 litre turbo. Nippy enough and quite a nice place to sit. Decent handling too with none of the torque steer issues...
The single biggest myth about the older shape VXR was all the torque steer it supposedly had, they really didn't. Mine was just shy of 300bhp and just over 350lb/ft, it torque steered ever so slightly at best, certainly no more than my EP3 Type R before it.

They're a decent handling car as standard, I had Eibach springs and the Whiteline rear anti roll bar fitted and it made a huge difference.

Elliot2000

578 posts

121 months

Thursday 12th September
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MDMA . said:
Agree. Would be better with an Opel badge on it.
Why?

framerateuk

2,525 posts

129 months

Thursday 12th September
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I always liked the look of that last Astra VXR, someone in my village has a white one and it looks great.

I think it suffered a bit as it was released the same era as the Megane 250/265 and the MKIII Focus ST, both of which had similar power and were quite a bit lighter.

Vauxhalls of that time also had a very fussy dash with masses of buttons on the centre console. I had an Insigna as a courtesy car for a while and couldn't get over why they decided to put so many buttons there! (Ironically in contrast to my current Megane which could do with a button or two instead of just a touchscreen.)

stickleback123

4,973 posts

134 months

Thursday 12th September
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A colleague had one of the previous generations when they were new, it was certainly very quick but he had lage (19"?) wheels on and it always felt extremely lead footed and struggled a lot on poor surfaces. It always looked very tacky and cheap to me, inside and out.

The follow up model was a lot more "grown up" looking and the cooking models felt like a quality product, but as the OP says the VXR is a really rare sight and even standard Astras seem far less ubiquitous than they used to be. The German manufacturers have really eaten everyone elses lunch over the last ten years with their somewhat dubious GFV based PCP deals.

Neil1989

20 posts

46 months

Thursday 12th September
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My previous car was an Arden Astra H VXR, it had its quirks and faults but I loved that car to bits, when I sold it, I did regret it for some months. Mine had a hybrid turbo running around 340bhp, I heard it blew up around a year after I sold it, it apparently then got scrapped frown
I'm not sure if I'd have another, I want to keep my memory of it untainted (if I bought a lemon for example)!!

WCZ

7,006 posts

139 months

Thursday 12th September
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I was thinking this the other day, the first one was legendary for its torque steer and the second was completely forgotten about!

Mike1990

710 posts

76 months

Thursday 12th September
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Definitely forgotten about, which is a shame despite all the reviews being generally positive.

Jimmy Recard

15,647 posts

124 months

Thursday 12th September
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WCZ said:
I was thinking this the other day, the first one was legendary for its torque steer and the second was completely forgotten about!
I don’t understand this legend though. They weren’t particularly bad for torque steer

Killboy

1,537 posts

147 months

Thursday 12th September
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I have a 2013 which I think has been a fairly cracking buy. I bought it 3 years ago for 12k and been through France twice with it and its a fairly rewarding drive. About the only think I think is a bit excessive is the fuel consumption, and sometimes the USB connection to an iPhone is a little temperamental.

I still think its one of the best looking hot hatches. And it really does handle and go well.


C70R

5,270 posts

49 months

Thursday 12th September
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The Vambo said:
I have no idea if they are good or bad but the Astra VXR in blue with the aero pack is by far my favourite lookng hot hatch in the metal.

I agree, it's a fabulous looking thing. But is it a hot-hatch?

To me it looks more like a 'style over substance' coupe, with enormous wheels. More of a Scirocco than a Golf, if you see what I mean.

Jimmy Recard

15,647 posts

124 months

Thursday 12th September
quotequote all
C70R said:
I agree, it's a fabulous looking thing. But is it a hot-hatch?

To me it looks more like a 'style over substance' coupe, with enormous wheels. More of a Scirocco than a Golf, if you see what I mean.
I think that the style thing was intentional - the GTC shape was intended to be both the three door Astra of that generation and a Scirocco rival

The Vambo

3,752 posts

86 months

Thursday 12th September
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C70R said:
The Vambo said:
I have no idea if they are good or bad but the Astra VXR in blue with the aero pack is by far my favourite lookng hot hatch in the metal.

I agree, it's a fabulous looking thing. But is it a hot-hatch?

To me it looks more like a 'style over substance' coupe, with enormous wheels. More of a Scirocco than a Golf, if you see what I mean.
I know what you mean but I had a Scirocco R and always described it as a hot hatch. It was a Golf that had been "cut" so is the literal translation of coupe but to me it was just hatchback.

I wouldn't argue the point though.

The Vambo

3,752 posts

86 months

Thursday 12th September
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Killboy said:
I have a 2013 which I think has been a fairly cracking buy. I bought it 3 years ago for 12k and been through France twice with it and its a fairly rewarding drive. About the only think I think is a bit excessive is the fuel consumption, and sometimes the USB connection to an iPhone is a little temperamental.

I still think its one of the best looking hot hatches. And it really does handle and go well.

I have watched enough Youtube Nurburgring videos to know that immediately after that picture was taken, that S2000 snap oversteered into that wall. biggrin

Johnnytheboy

18,327 posts

131 months

Thursday 12th September
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I'm far from a Vauxhall fanboy but a friend of mine bought a 2016 (?) VXR and went out for a run behind me in my Mountuned Focus RS mk2, it had no problem keeping up.

Plus in contradiction to what someone upthread said about reviews saying they couldn't get their power down, this seemed (when I had a ride in it) very good at getting its power down from low speed.

vtecyo

1,914 posts

74 months

Thursday 12th September
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They have a stigma of being driven by people who date minors.

The Vambo

3,752 posts

86 months

Thursday 12th September
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vtecyo said:
They have a stigma of being driven by people who date minors.