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Vauxhall Astra Hatchback Review

3.5/5
Vauxhall Astra Hatchback

The Vauxhall Astra Hatchback range...

List Price

£19,050 - £29,455

Acceleration (0-62mph)

8.8 - 10 seconds

Top speed

124 - 137 mph

Engine Power

105 - 145 bhp

CO2 Emissions

90 - 112 g/km

Fuel Economy (Combined)

54.3 - 64.2 mpg

Prices & Specification
Pros

Smooth ride, stylish and spacious interior.

Cons

It's expensive, and the handling just isn't sharp enough.

The Vauxhall Astra has a lot going for it. A ride that really is exceptionally good coupled with stylish looks both inside and out makes this an easy car to like. But with the basic model coming in at £12,995 the price really is difficult to justify, and the handling's unresponsiveness takes a lot of the fun out of the car.

Performance3/5

The 9 engines on offer are a real mixed bag. The two 1.4 engines (85 or 99bhp) lack the power to really pull the new larger Astra, and the 1.7 diesel engine suffers from a similar problem, though this is compensated for by the expected 60.1mpg. The picks of the range are definitely the turbo charged options. The 1.4 with 138bhp and the 1.6 with 158bhp both begin to show the nippy character that you expect to find in a hot hatch. The 2.0 diesel turbo at 158bhp is also a pretty pacey offering.

Handling3/5

This really depends on what you are looking for from the car. The suspension is excellent, meaning the ride is incredibly smooth even on rough surfaces, and its composed nature makes motorway driving a joy. However compared to other cars in its class it is very unresponsive. It just doesn't have the nimbleness of the VW Golf or the Ford Focus. The optional Flexride system does improve matters but still leaves it some way behind its peers.

Exterior3/5

It has been styled as a baby Insignia, which means the new Astra's looks hardly take your breath away. The lack of originality though does not make this car ugly by any means; in fact it is a rather stylish looking thing with an attractive swooping boot and a look that makes it feel more mature than some of its competitors. If you go for one of the SE models you get alloy wheels and some rather nice extra chrome trim too.

Interior4/5

The Astra may not be as spacious as a Focus but it has still got plenty of room to comfortably fit 5 people in it, with lots of head and leg room. The boot with a 370-litre carry capacity is a decent size too and has a FlexFloor (basically a moving floor that makes the space more versatile) which is a nice touch, though it is a bit fiddly to use. The rear seats are split folding which gives you even more space options. One of the biggest improvements from the old Astra is the look of the dashboard, it has a much classier a feel about it, although some of the buttons are a bit tricky to find.

Equipment3/5

As you would expect these days all models come with air conditioning, electric windows, remote locking and a CD player with an aux-in socket as standard. The SRi model, as well as adding alloys, gives you an electronic parking break. The SE has some nice touches including automatic lights and wipers, and if you want to go the whole hog and buy the Elite you'll be rewarded with heated leather seats and climate control.

Safety5/5

The Astra received a 5 star rating in the Euro NCAP tests and you can see why. There are airbags wherever you care to look, and the stability control that comes as standard on all models should hopefully mean you avoid finding out where they are. There are also active head restraints which minimise the risk of whiplash if you happen to get hit from behind.

Buying & Owning2/5

Here is the Astra's Achilles' heel. Even with the big discounts available it really is quite expensive. It is pretty much the same price as a Focus and significantly more expensive than the equally good if not better Golf. Vauxhalls do also have a nasty habit of depreciating in value at an alarming rate, so the Astra is probably not going to be your accountant's first choice. Vauxhall do have a good reliability record though, and there are plenty of dealerships around the country if you do get into any trouble.

Reviewed by cars2buy