The new Vauxhall Astra has a stop-start system like no other car I’ve ever driven. Rather than restarting the engine when the driver depresses the clutch pedal, the Astra instead waits until you have selected first and moved your right foot from the brake pedal across to the accelerator. This is weird.
And, we suspect, it’s all in the name of making the Astra travel a fraction of an inch further on a tank of fuel than any of its competitors. After all, a win is a win, even by the smallest of margins. By minutely lengthening the time the engine isn’t running, Vauxhall must’ve saved, oooh, maybe .000001 of a gallon and a carbon dioxide or two. When it has tough rivals to do battle with, and when efficiency is the name of the game, every little helps.
Photography: John Wycherley
This feature was originally published in the February 2016 issue of Top Gear magazine.