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Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011 - 2015)

The independent definitive Vauxhall Astra GTC (2011-2015) video review

This is a sample, showing 30 seconds of each section.

    C-CHANGE (some text hidden) SECTIONED_new_VauxhallAstraGTC_2012

    By Jonathan Crouch

    Introductionword count: 105

    Vauxhall's Astra GTC, a coupe three-door hatch version of the 'J'-series MK4 Astra, offered couture styling with blue-collar underpinnings during a production run that started in 2011 and went on until just after the launch of the MK5 Astra 'K'-series design in 2015. The GTC offered a great combination of looks and practicality. Powerful engines were available, but you don't necessarily need them for the feel-good sensation that comes with GTC ownership. It's a relatively affordable compact coupe that can stand wheel-to-wheel with apparently more exalted rivals - and often come out on top. Wouldn't it smarten your driveway? Many potential buyers will think so.

    Modelsword count: 18

    Models Covered: (3-door Coupe) 1.4, 1.6, 2.0 petrol / 1.7, 2.0 CDTi diesel [Sport, SRi, Limited Edition, VXR])

    Historyword count: 427

    Vauxhall, you know, has quite a performance heritage. From the Prince Henry of 1911 to the fire-breathing Firenza models of the Seventies, the Eighties Chevette HSR rallycars or the Lotus Carlton super saloon, the last century saw plenty for the driving enthusiast to get excited about behind the wheel of something bearing the Griffin badge. None of these models though, were cars that sporting motorists were particularly likely to want to use every day. Which was why in 1990, Vauxhall launched the Calibra, an affordable compact coupe based on ordinary underpinnings that was super-stylish, sensibly practical and, in its more potent forms, really very decent to drive. It was different enough from humbler Astras and Cavaliers to be desirable. Yet similar enough to remain affordable both to buy and to run. Curiously, the Calibra wasn't replaced, nor was it really replicated in the Vauxhall line-up - until late 2011 and the launch of the car we're going to look at here, this one, the Astra GTC. This Vauxhall made its debut on the UK market at a time when interest in compact coupes seemed to be on the rise, with all-new models like the MINI Coupe and the Hyundai Veloster arriving to join a revised version of Renault's Megane Coupe, the Peugeot RCZ and perhaps this car's toughest competitor, Volkswagen's Scirocco. None of these cars would have been seriously troubled had Vauxhall done little more than dress up a three-door version of the ordinary Astra family hatch - as had been the case with the previous Astra Sport Hatch and Astra coupe models that tried and failed to replicate the old Calibra's appeal. But this GTC, this 'Grand Touring Coupe', was different. Sharing not a single body panel with an ordinary 'J'-series MK4 Astra of the period, it was wider, longer, lower and more athletic looking. And though the engines would have been familiar to Astra folk back in 2011, a clever HiPerStrut suspension system meant that this GTC variant felt a bit sportier to drive. This was, in short, a surprisingly desirable Astra. A 280PS petrol turbo VXR hot hatch variant joined the range in 2012. And shortly after, Vauxhall introduced a 200PS version of the petrol turbo 1.6, to bridge the gap between conventional variants and the VXR. When the MK5 'K'-series Astra range was launched in 2015, it didn't include a Coupe/3-door body style, so Vauxhall kept the GTC in the showrooms for another year in conventional form - and the VXR variant continued to sell right up to the end of the decade.

    What You Getword count: 527

    You expect a three-door coupe to be smaller than the five-door Hatch it's likely to be based upon. But that certainly isn't the case here, this GTC longer and wider than the more ordinary five-door hatch it's based on (the fourth generation 'Astra J'-series design, which sold between 2009 and 2015). This coupe variant featured a longer wheelbase - which explains the remarkable amount of space it can offer for both rear seat passengers and their luggage. We'll get to that in a minute. But let's begin with what will probably sell you this car in the first place: the way it looks. Stylist Mark Adams and his team created a shape that shares nothing but the roof ariel and the door handles with that MK4 5-door Hatch, the differences further emphasised by a wider track, front and rear, plus a lower stance and much larger wheels. At the front, a centreline crease is complemented by slim, 'eagle-eye'-style headlamps featuring wing-shaped daytime running light graphics. From the side, it's a design based around three distinct curves. Most prominent is the signature Vauxhall 'blade', a crisp line that sweeps up from the rocker at the front of the door. A second line stretches through the door handle along the waist of the car, while a third follows the roof profile, guiding the eye to the sharply integrated rear spoiler. At the back, high tech LED lighting was only optional, but all GTCs look sharp, the rear lamps echoing the 'stretched wing motif' begun at the front. Lift the tailgate and you'll find yourself gazing at a boot that at 380-litres is actually 30-litres larger than that provided by that MK4 five-door hatch model; fold the rear bench and you'll free up 1165-litres of total volume - a space nearly 20% bigger than you'll find provided by some obvious rivals from this period. This all comes courtesy of that lengthened wheelbase, something that also benefits rear seat passengers. Two adults will be more comfortable in the back than in anything else in the class - even on longer journeys. Getting in behind the wheel means opening one of the huge doors that are needed thanks to the extended wheelbase and coupe body shape - and that might be an issue if you're tightly parked. Once installed behind the wheel though, it's all pretty user-friendly, even if it isn't very different from the layout you'd find in an ordinary MK4 pre-2015 Astra Hatch, despite Vauxhall's attempts to lift the atmosphere with faux aluminium inserts on the centre console, air vents and doors. What is different from that MK4 Astra Hatch is the rear screen - which is a pity as it's smaller in the GTC, slightly restricting rearward visibility. Once you adjust to that though, mostly everything else about this car is user-friendly, once you've worked out what all the little buttons and knobs actually do. The chrome-edged instruments in their deep-set binnacles look nice and work well. Plus the British build quality seems solid and finding an ideal driving position is easy thanks to a reach and rake-adjustable wheel and a height adjustable driver's seat. What To Look For

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    Category: Coupes

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