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Vauxhall Astra

SPACE ACE (some text hidden)

The much improved version of Vauxhall's seventh generation Astra family hatch takes some beating. June Neary checks it out..

Will It Suit Me?word count: 167

Golf, Focus, Astra: these are three of the car names that UK motorists know best, primarily because they are attached to three of the cars that UK motorists buy most. They're family hatchbacks and along with the likes of SEAT's Leon, Peugeot's 308, Renault's Megane, Toyota's Corolla and quite a few others, they fight it out for sales in one of the most competitive car market sectors there is. The problem for us car buyers is which one to choose and Vauxhall is confident it has the answer in the shape of an improved version of its seventh generation Astra. I've got to admit that the Astra has sometimes left me cold over the years. Yes it was always good value but sometimes you want more. In its recent incarnations, that's what Vauxhall's star performer has started to deliver, this enhanced MK7 model being smarter, cleverer and more efficient than before. It may look similar to the previous version, but don't be deceived: much has changed here.

Practicalitiesword count: 163

At the wheel, it's all quite smart, if rather forgettable. But extra comfort can now be specified in the form of high-end features like a wireless charger, a heated windscreen and a BOSE sound system. As before, infotainment's taken care of by the available Multimedia Radio, Multimedia Navi and Multimedia Navi Pro systems. All systems are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone-mirroring and the top-of-the-line Multimedia Navi Pro set-up has an eight-inch colour touchscreen and can also be operated by voice control. From a practicality perspective, this Astra is usefully bigger than most family hatchbacks, with plenty of space for a couple of six-footers in the back so long as the front seats aren't right back on their runners. There's even an abundance of headroom back there, despite the car's plunging roofline. That means getting kids and child seats in and out is that much easier. Boot space is class-competitive, 370-litres in the hatch and 540-litres in the Sports Tourer estate.

Behind the Wheelword count: 218

Put the Astra through its paces on the road and it's hard not to come away impressed. It's still no Ford Focus but it soaks up bumps well and turns into the bends easily, aided by a stiff chassis and torque vectoring that helps with cornering traction. As before, this Vauxhall does without the kind of independent rear suspension system you'd find on a rival Ford Focus, instead favouring a neat Watts linkage system that claims to reduce sideways motion between the axle and the body of the car as you go through the corners. Engine-wise, it's all change with the revised version of this seventh generation model. There are two fresh petrol units, a 1.2 developing either 110, 130 or 145PS and mated to 6-speed manual transmission. And a 1.4 putting out 145PS which has to be had with a new 7-speed CVT auto 'box. All the engines develop reasonable pulling power, with outputs ranging between 195 and 236Nm. Vauxhall's particularly pleased with throttle response with these engines, claiming that 90% of their pulling power is available within 1.5 seconds of pressing the accelerator. The diesel engine is new too, a 1.5-litre three cylinder powerplant offered in two states of tune, 105PS and 122PS. The more potent unit gets the option of a new 9-speed auto gearbox.

Value For Moneyword count: 237

You'll be paying from just under £19,000 to around £28,000 for mainstream versions of this Astra. The range is based around this five-door hatchback bodystyle, but if you want a bit more versatility, then there's the option of finding a price premium of around £1,000 for the Sports Tourer estate version. Vauxhall wants to emphasise that safety standards have taken a decent step forward with this facelift, courtesy of the installation of a new digital front camera, which is both smaller and more powerful than before thanks to a faster processor. It now not only recognises vehicles, but also pedestrians, greatly improving safety. Furthermore, thanks to the high-resolution camera, traffic sign recognition can now process more traffic signs and show them as symbols on the display. The digital rear view camera, available on selected models, is also more powerful, and works in conjunction with the new Multimedia Navi Pro infotainment system. Most models get Connected Navigation services with real-time traffic information, a set-up that uses online map updates to make the journey more relaxed, while the navigation display itself appears with redesigned symbols in a fresher, more modern look. The same applies to the instrument cluster, which features a redesigned digital speedometer. Optionally available is the E-Call emergency call function. If needed, help is just seconds away by pressing the red button. If the seatbelt tensioners or airbags are deployed, the system automatically makes an emergency call.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-62 mph (s):

7.8

13.8

Combined mpg:

38.7

76.3

CO2 (g/km):

97

172

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
70%
Handling
80%
Comfort
70%
Space
70%
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.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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