After my recent holiday, I was looking for a "one size fits all" type lens which I could take on days out or on holiday with my A700 more as a general purpose lens rather than a specific lens for certain types of shot - for instance motorsport. So after a lot of soul searching and reading I finally spent out on the new Tamron 18-270 Lens - and having used it for the first time over the weekend have to say I'm suitably impressed. Close up shots as well as longer range shots have come out in excellent detail (I've posted up some of the shots in the "Images to Share" section, under the heading Leeds Castle Bentley and Balloons) so in terms of does it operate as an overall general purpose lens, then the answer is absolutely yes.
A bonus to the lens as well is that it's not overly large when not in use, a little larger than the kit lens but that's about all. The main downside I found with the lens was with carrying it (I use the Black Rapid 7 strap) - if I didn't have the lens locked (using the lock on the lens) when on my back then it had a tendency to unwind to full length - a little annoying if suddenly pulling the camera up for a shot as you either had to wind it back in or unlock it before switching the camera on. Apart from that, have to say I was very impressed overall, as a general lens it ticks all the boxes, for sure you give away a fraction of detail, but that's a compromise I can live with to save having to swap lens' every 5 mins on a day out, or miss a shot becuase I don't have a longer lens. Not a cheap lens, but worth it.