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Vauxhall Astra VXR (2012 - 2019)

The independent definitive Vauxhall Astra VXR (2012-2019) video review

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

    THE VX-FACTOR (some text hidden) SECTIONED_new_VauxhallAstraVXR_2012

    By Jonathan Crouch

    Introductionword count: 107

    One of the most powerful front-driven hot hatches ever made, Vauxhall's second generation Astra VXR, isn't all about power - and is all the better for it. 280PS is certainly more than enough beneath the bonnet but clever suspension, torque steer technology and a limited slip diff are the key factors that made this machine, based on the Astra GTC coupe and sold between 2012 and 2019, one of the most rewarding performance cars that Vauxhall ever brought us. If you automatically default to Renault or Ford when choosing a fast hatch from the 21st century's second decade, give this VXR a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

    Modelsword count: 6

    Models Covered: (3-door Coupe) 2.0 petrol

    Historyword count: 321

    Fast Vauxhalls - and especially fast Vauxhall Astras - have always been something of an acquired taste, machines for the Max Power generation. Get yourself behind the wheel of one and you certainly went very quickly, but in a wildly wayward fashion that was fun at first but wearing within a week. It's all right to sell such a car if it's priced within reach of the Halfords hell raisers that can afford it, but there's not much profit in doing that, as Vauxhall found with a first generation Astra VXR model which sold between 2005 and 2010. In 2012, Vauxhall decided it was time to tame the beast, not something easy to do while at the same time giving it a healthy slug of extra power. But a job that Vauxhall cleverly completed with this model, the second generation Astra VXR, launched here in Summer 2012 as pretty much the most powerful hot hatch you could buy. On the face of it, there are a few contradictions here. Can a car tasked with putting a frantic 280PS through just two front driven wheels really claim to be as civilised as a Golf GTI? It wasn't so long before this Astra GTC Coupe-based model's launch, after all, that we'd seen this kind of output from supercars like Nissan's Skyline GTR and Honda's NSX. Here, you could get it beneath the bonnet of a civilised family three-door that aimed to gain for Vauxhall the hot hatch credibility it had long been seeking against its fastest rivals at the top of the shopping rocket segment, cars like Volkswagen's Scirocco R, Ford's Focus ST and the Renaultsport Megane 265. To beat brands like these, Vauxhall knew this car would have to be very good indeed, a masterclass in everything General Motors knew about automotive dynamics, developed by a team of red-blooded race enthusiasts. And that's exactly what this VXR delivered. It sold until 2019.

    What You Getword count: 571

    Buy this car and you're going to need to get used to being stared at. Not only are the basic proportions right, but a lot of the detailing is spot on, in contrast to some previous generation models which could feel a little Halfords in their final execution. Visual identifiers for VXR owners to set themselves apart from drivers of humbler Astra GTC models include a set of specially sculpted front and rear bumpers, side skirts, an aerodynamic roof spoiler and two exhaust tail pipes in a trapezoid shape. Credit for the design goes to Brit Mark Adams and his team who struck a decent balance between aggression and elegance that's stylish enough to make a Focus ST from this period look rather dumpy and a Megane Renaultsport seem a little awkward. Three main styling lines are used to create tension and define the outline of the silhouette. The first sweeps downwards from the front door to the bottom of the rear wing. The second strikes through the door handle and stretches to the rear emphasising the dramatic stance and broad shoulders. Then a third line follows the roof's clean, rakish shape. Things are a lot less memorable inside, but this is still an impressive cabin with decent quality and plenty of thoughtful touches. Take the lovely sports seats, positioned 17mm lower than an ordinary Astra GTC and fully 30mm lower than an Astra family five-door from this period. Pneumatically adjustable cushions in the seat sides add ultimate adjustability at the push of a button and really keep you firmly in place so that you're not hanging off the steering wheel when cornering hard. Other features include a flat-bottomed leather-stitched sports steering wheel that's much smaller than the Vauxhall norm, plus a set of alloy-plated pedals. And you'll like the way that the backlighting for the instrument dials turns red when the 'VXR' setting on the standard FlexRide adaptive suspension system is selected. The cabin feels genuinely solid; certainly a lot beefier in terms of materials quality than a Renault or Ford and almost on a par with a Volkswagen Scirocco. True, the centre stack is a bit busy with buttons and it takes a little while to be able to unerringly hit the one you want, although to Vauxhall's credit, many of the controls can be marshalled from the steering wheel. The dash features glossy piano black chronograph-inspired dial rings. Not so nice is the display from the standard dot matrix driver information system, something that looks a little dated in an era where some rivals were being launched with high-def TFT screens. Still, it's a nice bonus to find that this is the most practical car in its class from its period, for both people and packages. Take the back seats. Access is a bit tight, but once you get seated, you'll find that two adults could sit in the rear quite comfortably as long as they weren't too long of leg and the journey wasn't too long. Good luck trying that in a comparable Renaultsport Megane or a Scirocco. One thing you do have to watch out for is the sheer length of the doors in this car. Nudge your way into a tight supermarket parking spot and it can be a real contortionist job to lever yourself out without putting a scratch on someone's pride and joy. And the boot? Well, it's a decent size at 370-litres.

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    Category: Compact Family Cars

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