Latest Vauxhall Astra on Test

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The latest Vauxhall Astra is well equipped, affordable to run and more agile than expected. It even comes as a family friendly sports tourer, as well as a traditional five-door hatchback.

The Astra has been a firm favourite our roads since launch in the late 1970’s – whether it be in 2-door, 3-door, 4 door, 5 door or hatchback, saloon, estate, coupe, cabriolet or van guise, there is no getting away from the fact but it is quite possibly one of Vauxhalls best selling vehicles.

Having owned a MkV Astra Estate for a few years, around a decade ago, I can assure you that it surpassed all expectations. Especially during the winter months when I used to head up farm lanes fully laden with men, working dogs and associated sporting goods for a day on the moss-land.

Onto its seventh generation now, the Vauxhall Astra is better than ever. Meaning it is likely to stay as a family, company car and constabulary favourite to for quite some time, helped in part with a few punchy turbocharged engines. Not only that, but this new Astra is considerably lighter than its previous model, aiding economy and agility with it.

The hatchback range starts from £18,890 or £269.93/m (T&C pending), while the estate range starts from around £2,000 more. Having been trusted with the hatchback version for a week, it is in this guise that I will talk about throughout this article and, depending on trim there is an option of 6 colours, 6 engines and 3 gearboxes.

Standard features of this latest Vauxhall Astra which come on the ‘SE’ trim include 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, multifunction steering wheel, ISOFIX child seat mounting points on outer rear seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat back, automatic lighting control, at a 7-inch colour touchscreen featuring am FM DAB radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and mobile phone portal, apple carplay and Android auto as well as USB audio connectivity.

Priced from £19,740 is a ‘Business Edition Nav’ which adds a multimedia navigation infotainment system, leather steering wheel and front central armrest, LED headlights, rain sensitive windscreen wipers and interior ambient lighting.

Next is an ‘SRi’ priced from £18,295 which features 17-inch alloy wheels, sports-style front seats, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, Lane departure warning with Lane assist, electronic parking brake and front fog lights.

An ‘SRi Nav’ adds, as you would imagine multimedia navigation Entertainment System with a premium speaker upgrade and is priced from £18,795.

A top of the range Elite Nav premium is priced from £22,950 and features a larger 8-in colour touchscreen as the hub for it’s infotainment, an 8-inch colour digital instrument display, dual zone electronic climate control, humidity sensor, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera, keyless entry and start, leather upholstery with heated front and outer rear seating and a heated windscreen.

The 6-in engines mentioned previously are actually only three three. All three-cylinder, turbocharged engines the range starts with a 1.2-litre petrol which is available with either 110PS, 130PS or 145PS, all of which are paired with a 6-speed manual transmission.

There is also a 1.4-litre petrol engine available, as tested, which is paired to a CVT stepless automatic transmission and produces an effortless 145PS.  You can expect a return of around 47mpg from the smaller petrol engine, with a return of 42mpg to from the 1.4-litre version.

The sole 1.5-litre diesel engine is available with a 105PS or 122PS, both of which come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox with the higher powered engine also being available with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

A return of 60mpg can be expected from the smaller output engine, with me larger output engine returning around 57mpg and the 9-speed auto takes its toll on economy with a return of around 50mpg.

The model tested and pictured was effortless to drive and it didn’t take too long to get used to the mannerisms of the stepless automatic transmission featured on this model. I would even go as far as saying that is it was quite an enjoyable experience when on a spirited back road run.

Inside, the Vauxhall Astra is reasonably spacious for front seat passengers, although things may get a little tight width for tall adults travelling on a long journey. I found the driver’s seat to be very comfortable supportive and a nice driving position was easily achieved with all controls at arm’s length.

The heated seats and steering wheel on the model tested were most welcome in autumn when I drove this car and while a lot of the material is used around the cabin might not be great to look at, they will be hard wearing and I am sure will stand the test of time with busy family and life.

Servicing for all engines is advised every 20000 miles or annually, whichever occurs sooner and Vauxhall offer a 3-year warranty.

Fact File for model tested

Make : Vauxhall
Model : Astra
Trim : SRi Nav
Engine : 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol
Gearbox : CVT stepless auto
Cost : Circa £23,000

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About Author

Graham is a professional photographer and motoring writer with over 15 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and rally events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers. See more at grahamcurry.com

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