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Vauxhall Astra

ASTRA-NOMICAL? (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Vauxhall is aiming to acheve big things with the seventh generation Astra. It's aiming directly at eroding the market share of its Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf arch-rivals. Jonathan Crouch drives it.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 63

The seventh generation version of Vauxhall's Astra family hatch manages to be better equipped, more efficient and more spacious than its predecessor, plus it offers a worthwhile engine range that includes an efficient little 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol unit. Think that sounds promising? Then like us, you might think that this could be an extremely tough rival for segment-leading Golf and Focus models.

Backgroundword count: 220

Despite Vauxhall's best efforts over more than three decades and six different generations, their Astra has rarely been the family hatchback its drivers would ideally have chosen to own. Not because it's ever been a bad car: just never a class-leading one. The kind of model you bought because it was good value. Or more likely, because you were given the keys by your company Fleet Manager. This seventh generation version was designed to do better - and the signs are that it might. As you may expect, it's smarter-looking, but more importantly, it's also up to 200kgs lighter than before, so the most frugal variant can manage over 90mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 82g/km. There's plenty of technology too, including 1.0-litre three cylinder technology, the clever OnStar system - and the Intellilink infotainment packages. Best of all perhaps, this car offers higher interior quality and claims to be sharper to drive. That's important. Manufacturers selling family hatchbacks of this kind are usually torn between trying to match the quality and comfort of a Volkswagen Golf or the sharp handling of a Ford Focus. Most end up with a compromise between the two that leaves these impressive class leaders untroubled. With this car, the GM designers claim to have done better - but have they? Let's find out.

Driving Experienceword count: 182

The engineers created a completely fresh platform for this MK7 model Astra but it isn't one featuring the multi-link rear suspension set-up that does so much to make a rival Ford Focus ride and handle so sweetly. The downside of that kind of arrangement lies not only in its cost but also in the way it intrudes on bootspace (which is why a Focus' boot is so relatively small). Hence the decision with this Astra to stick with the previous model's relatively simple torsion beam rear suspension system, a set-up enhanced with a so-called 'Watts linkage' feature to improve cornering stability. The engine range offers the option of the old 1.4 litre petrol unit in 125 or 150PS forms but we'd prefer the smaller 105PS 1.0-litre three cylinder unit. Most Astra buyers though, are probably going to want a diesel. The old 1.3, 1.7 and 2.0-litre CDTi units have been pensioned off and in their place sits the quieter, torquier 1.6-litre CDTi diesel, offered with either 110 or 136PS. Both petrols and diesels benefit from a sweet-shifting six speed gearbox manual gearbox.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-60 mph (s):

7.8

13.8

Combined mpg:

38.7

76.3

CO2 (g/km):

97

Extra urban mpg:

48.7

80.7

Height (mm):

1510

Insurance group:

9

26

... and 6 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Compact Family Cars

Performance
80%
Handling
70%
Comfort
90%
Space
90%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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