This Vauxhall Astra includes air conditioning, satellite navigation, sport seats, cloth seat trim, alloy wheels, cruise control, heated and electric mirrors and front fog lights.
Petrol 51.4 combined MPG
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Best part-ex price paid
Ready to test drive
Qualifies for Warranty4life
Our Astra is a demonstrator model and the mileage is subject to change. Contact us today to confirm the current mileage.
CO2: 128 g/km
Emissions and Fuel
* Price does not include road fund license
Service Log Book
Electric front/rear windows/one touch facility, Heated rear screen with timed cut off, Intermittent rear wash/wipe, Rain sensor windscreen wipers, Side window demist vents, Solar heat absorbing windscreen, Tinted windows, Two speed windscreen wipers with variable intermittent wipe, Windscreen demist vents
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Programme, Hill start assist, Traction control
Fully carpeted load area
Cruise control + speed limiter, Electric speed sensitive power steering
Central facia display with digital clock, outside air temperature and audio information, Digital fuel gauge with low fuel warning light, Digital water temperature gauge with warning light, Facia mounted Sport switch, Gearshft up/down indication light, Left Key in ignition audible warning, Lights on audible warning, Monochrome colour display in instrument cluster, Multi function trip computer, Navi900 Intellilink Sat Nav, 8" screen, AM/FM/DAB radio/USB/Aux-in, audio streaming, traffic program, shark fin aerial, 6 speakers w/20W per channel, Oil life monitoring system, Rev counter, Service due indicator, Speedometer
Body coloured door mirrors, Dipping rear view mirror, Twin electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
Black facia with piano black trim inserts, Instrument panel bar in piano black, Piano black trim inserts on front doors, Silver air vent surrounds
Steering wheel mounted audio controls
Exterior Body Features
Body colour door handles, Body colour rear roof spoiler, Chrome effect upper window trim, Chrome front grille, Chrome headlight surround, Gloss black finish B pillar, Gloss black finish C pillar, Shark fin roof aerial
Adaptive brake lights, Automatic lighting control, Door to door illumination, Front fog lights, Hazard warning lamps, High level LED centre rear brake light, LED daytime running lights, LED side repeat indicators, Rear fog lights, Reversing light, Tunnel detection for auto light control
Four adjustable facia vents
12V electrical accessory socket in front, 3 spoke leather covered steering wheel with accent stitching, Black door panels with black atlantis cloth inserts, Chrome interior door handles, Driver and front passenger sunvisors, Folding storage box on driver side lower facia, Four load restraint lashing eyes, Front and rear door pockets, Front centre armrest with storage, Glovebox with lid, Interior tailgate handle, Luggage compartment cover, Plain black fabric side bolsters and surrounds, Reach + rake adjustable steering column, Satin chrome effect bezel on steering wheel, Storage compartment in centre console, Titanium headlining, Twin gas assisted tailgate struts, Two drink holders in centre console
Ambient LED downlighter in facia/centre console, Fade up/down courtesy light, Front courtesy lights, Front red LED ambient lighting, Illuminated load area, Rear courtesy lights, Twin front reading lights with illuminated switches, Twin rear reading lights with illuminated switches
Driver's ergonomic active seat pack - Astra SRi/SRi Vx-Line/Elite, Driver's ergonomic active seat pack with Formula cloth upholstery- Astra
3x3 point rear seatbelts, Child locks on rear doors, Height adjustable front seatbelts, Passenger airbag deactivate switch, Pedal release system, Seatbelt pretensioners on front/outer rear seats, Seatbelt warning, Six airbags - Driver's dual stage airbag/front passenger's dual stage airbag/front seat side impact airbags/full size curtain airbags, Tyre pressure monitoring system
60/40 split folding rear seat, Front seat back storage pockets, Height adjustable and removable rear head restraints (x3), Height adjustable front head restraints, Isofix child seat mounting points on outer rear seats
Electronically protected audio, Engine Immobiliser & Deadlocks, Freewheeling door locks, Locking wheel bolts, Remote control central locking, Remote control ultrasonic security alarm system, Visible vehicle identification number
Driver and front passenger illuminated vanity mirror with flip up covers
|Badge Engine CC:||1.4|
|Based On ID:||N|
|Coin Description:||T 16V 150|
|Coin Series:||SRi Nav|
|Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07:||16E|
|Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years:||6|
|Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years:||1|
|NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %:||86|
|NCAP Child Occupant Protection %:||84|
|NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09:||5|
|NCAP Pedestrian Protection %:||83|
|NCAP Safety Assist %:||75|
|Service Interval Frequency - Months:||12|
|Service Interval Mileage:||20000|
|Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage:||60000|
|Standard manufacturers warranty - Years:||3|
|Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months:||72|
|Timing Belt Interval Mileage:||100000|
|Vehicle Homologation Class:||M1|
|Standard Euro Emissions:||EURO 6|
|Cylinders - Bore (mm):||74|
|Cylinders - Stroke (mm):||81.3|
|Engine Layout:||FRONT TRANSVERSE|
|Fuel Delivery:||TURBO INJECTION|
|Number of Valves:||16|
|EC Combined (mpg):||47.9|
|EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies:||True|
|EC Extra Urban (mpg):||58.9|
|EC Urban (mpg):||36.2|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Max:||6.6|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Min:||6.4|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Max:||6.6|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Min:||6.4|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Max:||5.6|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Min:||5.4|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Max:||9.2|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Min:||9.1|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Max:||6.3|
|WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Min:||6.1|
|WLTP - MPG - Comb - Max:||42.8|
|WLTP - MPG - Comb - Min:||44.1|
|WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Max:||42.8|
|WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Min:||44.1|
|WLTP - MPG - High - Max:||50.4|
|WLTP - MPG - High - Min:||52.3|
|WLTP - MPG - Low - Max:||30.7|
|WLTP - MPG - Low - Min:||31|
|WLTP - MPG - Medium - Max:||44.8|
|WLTP - MPG - Medium - Min:||46.3|
|0 to 60 mph (secs):||True|
|0 to 62 mph (secs):||7.8|
|Engine Power - BHP:||150|
|Engine Power - KW:||110|
|Engine Power - PS:||True|
|Engine Power - RPM:||5000|
|Engine Torque - LBS.FT:||181|
|Engine Torque - MKG:||25|
|Engine Torque - NM:||245|
|Engine Torque - RPM:||2000|
|Emissions Test Cycle:||NEDC Correlated|
|Tyre Size Front:||225/45 R17|
|Tyre Size Rear:||225/45 R17|
|Tyre Size Spare:||TYRE REPAIR KIT|
|Wheel Style:||5 TWIN SPOKE|
|Wheel Type:||17" ALLOY|
|Height (including roof rails):||N|
|Width (including mirrors):||2042|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres):||48|
|Gross Vehicle Weight:||1820|
|Luggage Capacity (Seats Down):||1210|
|Luggage Capacity (Seats Up):||370|
|Max. Loading Weight:||617|
|Max. Roof Load:||75|
|Max. Towing Weight - Braked:||1550|
|Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked:||620|
|No. of Seats:||5|
|Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb:||11.5|
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.
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.
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.
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.
You know at first glance that this is a Vauxhall thanks to the corporate grille, which flows into headlights which come with the option of full LED technology. There's also the familiar 'blade' graphic stamped into the side of the body and rear lights that spread into the tailgate like the smaller Corsa. Another nice touch is the 'floating' roof, an effect created by a dark trim on the C-pillar and highlighted by a chrome strip that runs the length of the roof. There's also the option of quite a sleek estate variant, the Sports Tourer. Up-front, there's the expected smart fascia with splashes of chrome and the expected standard touchscreen infotainment screen that as usual reduces dashboard button clutter. The General Motors 'OnStar' system is available, the set-up providing an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, 24/7 assistance from a dedicated service team and the ability to call the emergency services if the airbags deploy. Out back, there's very class-competitive rear legroom. And you get a 370-litre bpoot - or 540-litres in the Sports Tourer estate.
Prices start from just under £19,000 and range up to around £28,000 and there's the usual mainstream bodystyle choice of five-door hatch and Sports Tourer estate. With the latest generation hatch and estate, there are nine main trim levels - 'Design', 'Tech Line Nav', 'Griffin', 'SRi', 'SRi Nav', 'SRi VX-Line', 'SRi VX-Line Nav', 'Elite Nav' and 'Ultimate'. Diesel variants start around £20,500 and get the much quiet 1.6-litre CDTi engine. And equipment? Well, if you opt for base 'Design' trim, you get 16" alloy wheels, air conditioning, a DAB stereo with Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay compatibility, cruise control and all round power mirrors and windows. Business users will be interested in the 'Tech Line' trim that adds sat nav and a leather steering wheel. Move up to the 'SRi' grade and you get sportier wheels, a driver assistance pack, sports seats and the OnStar system that will offer help in an emergency. Top 'Elite' models gain leather electric seats that are heated front and rear, climate control and a few other luxury items. Safety kit available on plusher models or as an option includes a 'Traffic Sign Assistant' that displays traffic signs on the dash as you pass them, a 'Lane Keep Assist' system, plus a 'Forward Collision Alert' set-up with auto braking.
Put simply, you're not going to find an Astra that's going to cost you a huge amount to run. Even the 1.4 petrol turbo is likely to return around 40mpg with a light right foot, while of course the 1.6-litre CDTi diesels will manage much more. The 1.0 three cylinder petrol model manages up to 48.7mpg on the combined cycle and 107g/km of CO2. If operating costs are your biggest worry then step forward the 1.6 litre CDTi 110PS diesel BlueInjection model, a car capable of up to 60.1mpg on the combined cycle while emitting only 107g/km of CO2. All fuel figures are WLTP-rated; all CO2 readings are NEDC. These days, Vauxhall only offers a standard three year 60,000 mile effort; the industry standard in other words. Residuals may be marginally improved by a recent extra focus on quality - we'll wait and see on that. As usual, you can help yourself in terms of model depreciation by exercising a little restraint when it comes to ticking boxes on the options list. It's very easy here to get up towards a £25,000 car without too much effort. Stick to the essentials that will make the vehicle more appealing to its potential second owner and you shouldn't do too badly.
In a family hatchback class stuffed with appealing options, it would be easy perhaps to overlook this seventh generation 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 local Vauxhall showroom to keep within budget, but such is the value emphasis in today's Griffin brand network that you're pretty likely to be able to do that. And assuming that you do, you'll get yourself a car that feels quite up to the challenge posed by an army of efficient, plush and dynamically able rivals. Of course the MK7 model improvements have helped enormously here - the smarter look, the more efficient engines, the extra hi-tech features. Best of all, it's mainly British, with hatch and estate models built at Ellesmere Port near Liverpool to a quality at least as high as anything the Japanese brands can manage. That reason alone might be enough to give this car a place on your family hatchback shortlist. Fortunately for Vauxhall, there are also many others.
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.
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.
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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.
(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.
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.
Vauxhall's much improved seventh generation Astra family hatch takes some beating. June Neary checks it out..
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 Auris 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 its latest 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 MK7 model being smarter, lighter, cleverer and more efficient than before. It may look similar to the previous version, but don't be deceived: much has changed here. Once merely an ordinary family hatch, this model line is now making some extraordinary claims for your attention if you're in the market for a car of this kind.
At the wheel, the previous forgettable rental car-style cabin is here replaced by a cleaner, simpler, smarter and more interesting design that some premium brands could even learn from. It certainly seems to have been well screwed together by the Ellesmere Port factory near Liverpool. The characteristic fascia element is what Vauxhall refers to as a 'blade'-style panel that stretches right across the cabin trimmed in piano black with a neat chromed edging. 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 childseats in and out is that much easier. In the boot, a bigger 370-litre capacity reveals itself. If you need more room, then pushing forward the 60:40 split-folding rear bench frees up 1,210-litres, around 200-litres more than Vauxhall's supposedly larger Insignia model. Vauxhall wanted the Astra to feel special from the driver's seat and by family hatchback standards, it does. Dominating the dash is a beautifully integrated Intellilink infotainment touchscreen that comes in 7 or 8-inch sizes, features smartphone-style 'pinch-and-swipe' functionality and better presents a whole range of functions that on the previous model had to be dealt with by rows of complicated little buttons. The screen is compatible with the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems, via which you can duplicate the functionality of your smartphone handset onto the Intellilink display. My favourite feature on this Astra though, is the one your dealer will be keenest to tell you about - the 'OnStar' personal connectivity and service assistant. This set-up's standard on top SRi and Elite variants, or you can get it as a £400 option lower down the range: either way, I was impressed with the way it makes your motoring life easier and safer. A blue button in the roof behind the rear view mirror connects you to a personal assistant who'll be there 24/7 for just about any journeying query you might have. You simply ask a question - 'where is the McDonalds in the next town?' for example - and you'll get verbal directions or better, if you have sat nav fitted, there'll be an instant destination download straight to your car. OnStar also turns your Astra into a 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot. And, more importantly, it'll automatically call the emergency services with your GPS location if the airbags deploy. The system also includes a vehicle tracking system that can automatically disable the car if someone steals it, then pinpoint its location. Should such a theft take place, you simply contact OnStar using a downloadable 'MyVauxhall' smartphone app that if necessary, you can also use to access important vehicle data and remotely lock or unlock your car. For me, this whole set-up's a major Astra selling point.
Put the Astra through its paces on the road and it's hard not to come away impressed. Reducing this seventh generation model's weight by up to 200kgs has had a significant effect on the way this car drives. It's still no Ford Focus but it now soaks up bumps better and turns into the bends more easily, aided by a stiffer 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. Under the bonnet, those in search of petrol power have an up-to the-minute range of options. We'd suggest you bypass the most affordable 100PS 1.4-litre engine in favour of the lighter, more responsive and much more efficient 105PS 1.0-litre ECOTEC turbo three cylinder unit. If you need more power, there are a couple of 1.4-litre Turbo powerplants offering 125 or 150PS, plus a top 200PS 1.6 Turbo option. Diesel drivers get Vauxhall's refined 1.6-litre CDTi 'whisper diesel' unit with a choice of three power outputs - 110, 136 or 160PS. The 110PS ecoFLEX variant delivers class-leading efficiency figures - 91.2mpg on the combined cycle and 82g/km of CO2.
List prices have been adjusted for a little extra affordability this time round and that means you'll be paying from just over £15,000 to around £24,000 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. From launch, hatch and estate derivatives are being sold alongside the pretty Astra GTC coupe, but that car remains based on the previous sixth generation Astra model. At the affordable end of the petrol line-up, it's well worth trying to find the £700 premium Vauxhall asks to graduate from the entry-level 1.4-litre 100PS unit to the far more responsive and efficient three cylinder 1.0-litre powerplant. Want a diesel? Well there are no duffers in the Astra black pump line-up any more - even the base 110PS 1.6-litre CDTi unit (priced from around £17,000) is impressive. Most buyers though, pay the necessary premium (around £700) to get themselves this engine in pokier 136PS guise - the variant I tried. Conventional automatic transmission is only available on the 150PS 1.4-litre petrol Turbo model or the 136PS version of the 1.6-litre CDTi diesel - for a premium of around £1,300 over the manual variant. However, at the bottom of the range, you can get a simpler 'Easytronic' set-up - essentially a manual gearbox without a clutch - on the 1.0-litre petrol engine for a premium of just £400.
If you were slightly put off the Vauxhall Astra by the dull but worth versions of a few years back, it's definitely time to reacquaint yourself with this famous family hatch. The sixth generation Astra impressed and this smarter seventh generation car is a big stride forwards again. It's not as sharp as a Focus to drive, but to be frank, I don't really care about that and I don't think many other family hatch buyers will either. More relevant is the fact that in terms of comfort and refinement, this Vauxhall is now just about at the head of this highly competitive class. Plus the OnStar connectivity system simplifies your motoring life. In short, there's not much not to like.
Mr John Humphreys - 08/04/2019, owner of a Vauxhall Astra 1.4T 16V 150 Elite 5dr
User rating: 5/5
Miss Marie Randell - 03/01/2019, owner of a Vauxhall Astra 1.4T 16V 150 SRi 5dr
User rating: 3.5/5
Mrs B Richardson - 06/12/2018, owner of a Vauxhall Astra 1.6T 16V 200 SRi Vx-line Nav 5dr
User rating: 5/5