Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0T 16V VXR 3dr 2012 - Hatchback (2016)

02381 247 822

£17,000 cash

WAS £18,000, SAVE £1,000

Packing a solid 280PS and featuring a bombproof feel and sharp driving dynamics, the Vauxhall Astra VXR is a car that feels as if it's been engineered with care and not just to attain a headline-grabbing power figure. It's also probably the best-looking car in its class. In other words, there's a lot to like.




Petrol 36.2 combined MPG

Special solid - Summit white

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CO2: 184 g/km

MPG: 36.2

V5 Document

V5 Document

MOT Certificate

MOT Certificate





Service Log Book

Service Log Book

Body Glass

Electric front windows, Rain sensitive windscreen wipers, Rear wiper


ABS + EBD + EBA, ESP, Traction control


VXR floor mats


Flex ride system (adaptive chassis control) + Continuous Damper Control (CDC)

Driver Aids

Cruise control, PAS

Driver Information

Multi function trip computer, Service interval indicator, Vauxhall OnStar emergency assistance

Driving Mirrors

Electrochrome anti dazzle rear view mirror


DAB Digital radio, Steering wheel mounted controls

Exterior Body Features

Dual exhaust pipes, VXR air dam/body colour bumper with honeycomb sports front grille

Exterior Lights

Automatic lighting control, Digital high beam assist, LED rear lights

Interior Features

3 spoke flat bottomed leather steering wheel, Alloy pedals, Front armrest, Reach + rake adjustable steering column, Rear armrest, Sports pedals, VXR alloy effect door sill covers, VXR leather gear knob


3x3 point rear seatbelts, Curtain airbags, Driver/Front Passenger airbags, Dual horn, Side airbags


Driver's seat height adjuster, Folding rear seats, Front head restraints, Isofix system on outer rear seats


Immobiliser, Remote central deadlocking, Remote ultrasonic alarm system

Wheels - Spare

Tyre repair kit


Badge Engine CC: 2.0
Badge Power: 280
Based On ID: N
Coin Description: T 16V
Coin Series: VXR
Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 35E
Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 6
Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 1
NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 91
NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 79
NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 50
NCAP Safety Assist %: 71
Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
Service Interval Mileage: 20000
Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
Vehicle Homologation Class: M1


CO: 0.539
CO2 (g/km): 184
HC: 0.0024
Noise Level dB(A): N
NOx: 0.0019
Particles: 0.0001
Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6

Engine and Drive Train

Camshaft: DOHC
Catalytic Convertor: True
CC: 1998
Compression Ratio: 9.3:1
Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
Cylinders: 4
Cylinders - Bore (mm): 86
Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 86
Engine Code: A20 NFT
Gears: 6 SPEED
Number of Valves: 16
Transmission: MANUAL

Fuel Consumption

EC Combined (mpg): 36.2
EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: True
EC Extra Urban (mpg): 43.5
EC Urban (mpg): 27.7


0 to 62 mph (secs): 6
Engine Power - BHP: 280
Engine Power - KW: 206
Engine Power - PS: True
Engine Power - RPM: 5500
Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 295
Engine Torque - MKG: 41
Engine Torque - NM: 400
Engine Torque - RPM: 2500
Top Speed: 155


Alloys?: True
Tyre Size Front: 245/40 R19
Tyre Size Rear: 245/40 R19
Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
Wheel Style: 5 SPOKE
Wheel Type: 19" ALLOY

Vehicle Dimensions

Height: 1482
Height (including roof rails): N
Length: 4466
Wheelbase: 2695
Width: 1840
Width (including mirrors): 2020

Weight and Capacities

Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 56
Gross Vehicle Weight: 2045
Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1165
Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 380
Max. Loading Weight: 570
Max. Roof Load: 100
Max. Towing Weight - Braked: N
Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: N
Minimum Kerbweight: 1475
No. of Seats: 5
Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 10.9


The Vauxhall Astra VXR is a hot hatch with a devastating haymaker under the bonnet. Jonathan Crouch is left reeling.

Ten Second Review

Packing a solid 280PS and featuring a bombproof feel and sharp driving dynamics, the Vauxhall Astra VXR is a car that feels as if it's been engineered with care and not just to attain a headline-grabbing power figure. It's also probably the best-looking car in its class. In other words, there's a lot to like.


The Vauxhall Astra VXR develops 280PS from its 2.0-litre engine. That in itself might not mean too much to you, but try this for perspective. Remember all those fantastic Japanese super coupes from the Nineties? Hero cars like the Honda NSX, the Toyota Supra Turbo and the Nissan Skyline GT-R? They were all packing 280PS too. It's a testament to how far we've coming in the few short years since then that a front-wheel drive hatchback can now easily handle that sort of power and handle superbly to boot. The VXR badge hasn't always been an exemplar of dynamic subtlety, but with this Astra, there are clear signs that here is car developed by people who get it, who know how to make a mechanically 'correct' vehicle. It's got some formidable rivals to face down, but the Astra VXR is making some real strides.

Driving Experience

There's talent here. The HiPerStrut front suspension does a great job of reducing front wheel camber changes during cornering, boosting steering feel and quelling undesirable torque-steer under hard acceleration. As a result, the VXR's front end feels enormously reassuring. Even with the stability control switched fully off, the chassis doesn't feel playful and delicate in its reactions, like that of a Renaultsport Megane, but it counters with a very Germanic feeling of healthy over-engineering. The three-stage FlexRide switches between 'Normal', 'Sport' and 'VXR' modes and adjusts both throttle action and damping: even the sportiest VXR mode works well on British roads. In addition to the work done by ZF Sachs on dampers, Vauxhall engineers have stiffened the standard springs by around 30 per cent and lowered the car by a further 10 millimetres all round, compared with a 1.6T Astra GTC. The ESP stability control can be switched from 'Normal' to 'Competitive' and then fully off. Unlike some rivals which feature a mimsy e-diff, the Astra gets a heavy duty mechanical multi-plate limited slip differential made by motorsport component manufacturer, Drexler. This offers great traction out of corners, where you can feel the diff dragging you to the apex under power. Delicious. As you'd expect, the VXR is properly rapid, smashing its way to 60mph in just 5.9 seconds on the way to a 155mph maximum. It also makes quite a few odd noises, the soundtrack being a symphony of chuffs, whistles and muted roars under full power. It's not a peaky engine, with maximum torque being developed all the way from 2,450 to 5,000rpm. As such, power delivery isn't as dramatic as you might expect, but it's one of those cars that can make effortless cross country progress and is always going 15-20mph quicker than your initial estimate.

Design and Build

The Astra VXR is based on the GTC three-door which is one of the best-looking hatches around. I can't think of a more handsome car in its class and the VXR builds on the GTC's fundamentally elegant lines, adding a well-judged amount of aggression without lapsing into caricature. Visual identifiers for the Astra VXR comprise a set of specially sculpted front and rear bumpers, side skirts, an aerodynamic roof spoiler and two exhaust tail pipes in a trapezoid shape. Inside, the VXR's cabin gets bespoke performance seats with embossed logos in the backs, a flat-bottomed VXR steering wheel and upgraded instruments. A little more about those seats. They look like Recaros and they feel like Recaros but they're not. In fact, they've been designed in-house and I have to admit, they're unexpectedly good. The seats are formed using an injection moulded sheet in the seat shells, which reduces their weight by 45 per cent compared with a conventional shell. The sheet is filled with a composite material and its strength and agility means that it only needs to be two to three millimetres deep. Pneumatically adjustable cushions in the seat sides add further levels of adjustability at the push of a button and provide a figure-hugging grip. The cabin feels genuinely solid; certainly a lot beefier in terms of materials quality than a Renault or Ford and probably on a par with a Volkswagen Scirocco. The boot measures 370 litres and the use of an electronic parking brake frees up space on the centre console for additional stowage.

Market and Model

You'll need to be fairly committed to the pastime of duffing up Porsche sportscars with an ordinary-looking hatchback to stand paying around £27,000 for the privilege of Astra VXR ownership. It's a sum that now looks a little self-conscious given the budget pricing of Ford's Focus ST. To be fair to Vauxhall, the Astra feels a premium product with more power and a higher level of standard equipment than Focus ST models with more eye-catching sticker prices. Vauxhall have decided to align things fairly closely to the Renaultsport Megane 265, which is perhaps this model's closest spiritual rival, and were you to sit in the two cars in a showroom, the Astra would win the orders all day long. The equipment list comprises 19-inch alloy wheels, a DAB stereo with USB input, an onboard computer, climate control, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and fog lamps. The smaller steering wheel feels good in your hands with its perforated leather rim, while there's also a black headlining and a full leather pack for the seats available. The lack of a central touch screen is a bit of a strange omission but Vauxhall infotainment systems have never really been a company strong point. There are several option packs available, including the 'VXR Aero Pack' which adds bigger wheels, a spoiler, and side sills and which around 85% of VXR customers opt for. There's also the 'VXR Leather Seat Pack' which features heated and multi-adjustable front seats. A 'Performance Seat Pack' also features the multi-adjustable front seats but with cloth upholstery. Bi-Xenon and LED daytime running lights are an option, as are rear parking sensors, metallic paint and tinted windows.

Cost of Ownership

Even driven in a spirited fashion on the press launch, we saw around 24mpg and many other drivers who were a little less leaden-footed returned better than 30mpg on the cross country test route. Vauxhall quotes an economy figure of 34.9mpg which isn't out of the question on a moderate tootle but which would be hard to achieve if you used the car to the extent of its design remit. Carbon dioxide emissions are rated at 189g/km - not bad for such a potent car but bettered by many. Those figures are around 10 per cent better than this VXR's less powerful predecessor, helped by energy-saving features such as electrically-adjustable power steering, a start/stop system and better aerodynamics. Vauxhall plans to sell around 1,000 VXRs per year in the UK, which isn't a huge number, so used demand should bolster residual values reasonably well.


The Vauxhall Astra VXR is an interesting vehicle. It's intriguing from a technical perspective in the way that it makes 280PS through the front wheels seem like such a sensible engineering solution. It's thought-provoking in the way that its interior feels built better than you'd ever expect from this bluest of blue collar badges. It's a car that will focus your attention when it does what it's designed to do, namely demolish a series of corners with real aggression. It's like the Nissan GTR of hot hatches in that it gets the job done effectively, while at the same time making many of its rivals look a bit silly. But is it an easy car to fall in love with? That's a very different question. At no point during the drive did it tug at my heart strings in the way that a Megane 265 might, and I questioned why this was the case. It's well equipped, it's a lovely shape, it offers a great blend of ride, handling and sheer oomph and it's not overly showy. Perhaps it lacks that last couple of per cent that separate the very good from the great. Talking to some of the madly passionate engineers in charge of the project, I left in no doubt that if those last couple of per cent aren't quite there now, they'll be along shortly. This is one to watch.

ASTRA-NOMICAL VALUE? (used) 17/07/2015

By Alan Taylor-Jones


The Vauxhall Astra feels like a bit of a national institution, a nameplate that has signified a small, affordable family hatchback for over three decades. The range has grown over the years and was especially wide in sixth generation guise, with the core five-door model joined by a capacious estate, a coupe-like three door GTC model and a tyre shredding VXR hot hatch. The MK6 Astra was introduced in late 2009, but here, we're going to concentrate on the facelifted line-up, which arrived in 2012 and lasted Vauxhall until the seventh generation version's introduction in the Autumn of 2015. You'll find plenty of these late-model MK6 Astras about - and they appear to offer plenty for the money. This Vauxhall can prove to be a very efficient choice too, if you select your engine carefully. Pick one of the newer turbocharged petrol engines or a frugal 1.6, 1,7 or 2.0 litre diesel, then match your choice to a plush trim level and you've potentially got a cracking used buy. We show you why.


Models Covered: (3 & 5 door hatchback and estate 1.4, 1.6, 1.4 T, 1.6 T, 2.0 T petrol, 1.3, 1.7, 1.6, 2.0 diesel [Expression, Design, Excite, Limited Edition, Tech Line, Tech Line GT, Sri, BiTurbo, Elite, VXR])


Despite Vauxhall's best efforts over thirty years and five 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. At the launch of this MK6 version in 2009 though, greater efforts than ever before were made to ensure that 'want one' factor. So it was bigger, sharper to drive and nicer to sit in. And back then, it looked like a very complete proposition indeed. By 2012 though, much had changed in the family hatchback segment. The intervening period saw the introduction of all-new versions of this car's closest two segment rivals, Ford's Focus and Volkswagen's Golf, as well as complete re-designs of other important sector contenders like SEAT's Leon, Honda's Civic and Toyota's Auris. Plus there was the rise of the South Koreans, with new generation versions of the Kia cee'd and Hyundai i30, models that had become increasingly difficult for family hatchback buyers to ignore. Hence the need, in the Autumn of 2012, for a package of Astra changes designed to keep this car current in such an increasingly close-fought family hatchback sector. These created the smarter, higher-tech, more efficient car we're looking at here.

What You Get

Though the aesthetic improvements made to this improved MK6 model Astra were subtle, they did succeed in giving it a much fresher look. We're talking here of the five-door hatch and the Sports Tourer estate: the other Astra bodystyle option, the GTC Coupe, had been introduced as recently as the end of 2010, so needed little visual re-fettlement. And it's that GTC that provided the inspiration for many of the aesthetic changes made to this facelifted range. Take the front end which, as well as a redesigned bumper, got a more pronounced GTC-like lower grille, while the upper grille got a more prominent wing-like chrome bar and the option of LED daytime running lights. The rear was revised too, with smarter rear panel styling and a chromed lower moulding. Of course, the whole effect was even more aggressive if you went for one of the top performance models - the BiTurbo diesel or the VXR hot hatch for example, both of which got bespoke bodykits. Otherwise though, it was as you were for sixth generation Astra buyers. People for whom size tended to matter. Back in 2012, this was, after all, just about the largest car in this segment of the market. Vauxhall boasted that it was longer than virtually all of its main rivals, sat on a longer wheelbase and was just about the only family hatch buyers could have that was over 1.5m tall. That's something that as a used buyer, you'll notice most on the rear seat. A fully-grown adult really can sit comfortably in the middle for decently long periods alongside passengers who'll appreciate the fact that you can slide your feet properly right under the seat in front. So yes, this really is a proper 5-seater in a way that many of its rivals simply aren't. In fact, there's basically as much space here as you'll find in the brand's apparently bigger Insignia model. One reason for buying the larger car might, perhaps, be that its boot betters the 351-litre bay in the Astra by 149-litres, but with all the seats flattened, the Astra actually offers around 200-litres more than its supposedly bigger stablemate, with 1216-litres available. There's also a useful two-level floor that you can position to suit your load. If you need more, then the Sports Tourer estate delivers 500-litres of boot space with all the seats in place, a figure that rises to 1550-litres when you flatten the rear bench. Even the GTC coupe is a lot more spacious than you might imagine, delivering a 380-litre boot that can be extended to 1165-litres if need be. And at the wheel? Well, this sixth generation Astra's cabin felt very plush for its class back at the 2009 launch, but by 2012, rivals had improved to the point where the interior of this Vauxhall merely felt par for the class. The nice touches remain though, like the elegance of the dashboard design and the smart chromed rings around the dials and switches. We like the tiny red mood lights around the base of the front doors and under the gear lever that on plusher models, throw a welcoming glow across the cabin at night. And the properly practical features that suggest this car to have been designed by real people - like the way that the storage bins in the doors can actually hold a 2.0-litre bottle of drink. Or the false floor in this lidded cubby that will hide your iPod. It's true that because the centre console is rather crowded with small switches, the dash doesn't offer the most immediately intuitive layout you'll come across but once you adjust to what everything does and how it does it, you'll bond with it pretty well.

What You Pay

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What to Look For

As is always the case with mainstream family hatches, you'll want to keep a look out for thrashed company hacks or ex-hire fleet vehicles. Ensure that the car has been serviced on the button and that the mileage on the service record stamp tallies with what the odometer says. It's also worth checking the car for accident damage, as many cars will be de-fleeted early if they've had a prang and have been repaired. Ask the seller explicitly if the car has had accident damage and inspect the usual points for overspray and kinks in the under-bonnet flitch plates. The engines tend to be tough units with no serious problems to report.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2011 Astra 1.4 Exclusiv excl. VAT) Expect a replacement clutch to set you back £165, while front brake pads can be found for around £25. Rears are nearer £40, while a radiator will cost around £150. Alternators are slightly pricier, nudging the £320 mark, so make sure your prospective used car is generating a healthy current to its battery.

On the Road

Back in the steam age, an inventor called James Watt (remember his name from school history lessons?) invented a linkage system created to constrain the movement of a steam engine piston in a straight line. Over a century later, this Astra's engineers turned again to the same concept. When applied to a car's rear suspension, this Watts linkage reduces sideways motion between the axle and the body of the car in a way that they claim is more space-efficient, lighter and adjustable than the multi-link rear suspensions used in the Focus or the Golf. As to whether it all works, well, if you regularly corner your family hatchback on its door handles, you'll probably still find a Ford Focus to be a slightly more engaging drive. The rest of us though, will find this a well-judged compromise that matches the Ford for ride comfort and is pretty much as good as anything else in the class when it comes to an engaging drive. Both the dampers and the slightly vague electric power steering were tuned specifically for British roads but owners wanting to do some further fine tuning of their own could specify extra-cost FlexRide adaptive suspension with 'normal', softer 'Tour' or stiffer 'Sport' modes: it was standard on plusher models. A slick gearshift (5-speeds on lower-order engines but 6-speeds thereafter) and well-judged pedal weights also go in the plus column. Overall then, this Astra is a highly polished drive. Which would be pointless without an equally good showing under the bonnet. Here, it's a case of knowing your engine. To be honest, the budget-level 1.4 or 1.6-litre normally aspirated entry-level petrol units represent older and resolutely unremarkable Vauxhall technology, even if the performance they offer (rest to sixty in 14s on the way to 105mph in the case of the base 87PS 1.4 16v variant) will probably be enough for most. Unfortunately, the far superior 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol turbo units were limited to buyers of the sporty SRi trim level and to GTC coupe customers who also got a 280PS 2.0-litre powerplant in the top-of-the-range VXR hot hatch. Diesel drivers could specify a five-door hatch or a Sports Tourer estate to get themselves the entry-level 95PS 1.3-litre CDTi unit, but all Astra bodyshapes got the 1.7-litre CDTi engine many preferred, with a choice of either 110 or 130PS outputs. In 130PS guise, sixty from rest is 10.4s away en route to a maximum of 126mph. We can't really see much point in going beyond this to the 165PS 2.0 CDTi diesel, but it is tempting, if you can afford it, to look at the top-of-the-range Astra diesel, the potent 195PS BiTurbo unit, capable of rest to sixty in just 7.8s on the way to 141mph.


There are lots of options if you're looking for a family hatchback from the 2012 to 2015 period and in a class packed with noteworthy cars, it would be easy perhaps, to overlook this facelifted MK6 model Astra - or at least to assume it to be an also-ran in this tightly-fought segment. You shouldn't do that - and it isn't. Or at least it isn't if you choose your engine and spec carefully. The really desirable and efficient variants may well require you to negotiate a sharp deal with your seller to keep within budget, but if you can do that, then you'll get yourself a lot of car for the money. Yes, there are sharper-handling contenders in this segment but few rivals are better built or more efficient. It's worth looking at this later facelifted post-2012 version of the sixth generation design, rather than the original version. If you can do that, then you get yourself smarter looks, more efficient engines and extra hi-tech features. And, as ever with an Astra, there's a huge selection of used vehicles to choose from, so be patient and negotiate hard. Do that and you'll almost certainly come away with a very good deal. On a surprisingly good car.