Review

Vauxhall Astra GTC hatchback

Price  £19,040 - £24,705

Vauxhall Astra GTC hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Great to look at
  • Even better to drive
  • Spacious, comfortable and well built
Cons
  • Poor resale values
  • Drab interior design
  • Not as desirable as rivals

At a glance

"The Vauxhall Astra GTC is the best-handling, most stylish Vauxhall yet."

The Vauxhall Astra GTC rivals the likes of the Renault Megane and Volkswagen Scirocco. It looks good and drives incredibly well, but unfortunately the interior is disappointing, with cheap plastics dominating. Inside and out, it's almost completely changed compared to the previous Astra hatchback, but it's the performance that impresses most.

There are some really nice design features inspired by the Vauxhall Insignia VXR and the Astra GTC is comfortable and incredibly practical – resulting in it being named Carbuyer's best coupe back in 2012. The Astra GTC is available with five different engine options – three petrol and two diesel – so there should be a model to suit most budgets.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3 / 5

Entry-level 1.4-litre car should be cheapest to insure

The Astra GTC isn’t a fuel economy champion, but there are some reasonably efficient engines in the line-up.

The petrol range comprises 118bhp and 138bhp 1.4-litres, as well as a 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo. There are four diesel options: 109bhp and 128bhp 1.7-litres, a 163bhp 2.0-litre and the range-topping 192bhp 2.0-litre Biturbo.

To improve fuel economy, most Astra GTCs have stop-start technology as standard – but a few of them don’t, so be sure to check before you buy. We recommend the 163bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine for the most effective blend of performance and efficiency, as it returns 58.9mpg and emits 127g/km of CO2. Choosing an automatic gearbox will see fuel efficiency drop.

Vauxhalls don’t generally hold their value very well on the second-hand market, so take this into consideration when buying.

Engines, drive & performance

4 / 5

Accurate steering and powerful brakes make for an exciting drive

Vauxhall has done its best to set up the GTC to suit UK roads, making it feel very well balanced with sharp and responsive steering. As the Astra GTC is fitted with the Insignia VXR’s clever front suspension and an upgraded version of the five-door Astra's rear suspension, it’s excellent to drive through corners. Even the least powerful engines offer decent performance, while the range-topping Biturbo diesel is properly quick.

Interior & comfort

3.5 / 5

Lightweight body means no super-stiff suspension

The Astra GTC's well developed suspension makes it cery comfortable on most road surfaces. Plus, the suspension is adjustable, so you can tailor it for better handling or comfort. There's also the optional FlexRide system, which adjusts the suspension automatically to match the road surface.

The dimensions of the car mean that the back seats are a bit tight for adults, but there's a reasonable amount of headroom and all seats are supportive and comfortable. The Astra GTC has fantastic lightweight racing-style seats up front, and there’s not much road noise inside – even on the 19 or optional 20-inch alloy wheels.

Practicality & boot space

3 / 5

Spacious inside for a coupe, and there's a generous boot

For a three-door hatchback, the Astra GTC has a surprisingly substanial boot compared to other cars of similar size. It will hold 380 litres with the rear seats in place – significantly more than a Volkswagen Scirocco. Once you fold the back seats down flat, the capacity expands to 1,165 litres, but a high lip means loading and unloading heavy items can be a bit of a pain.

There's enough room in the back for three adults – but only for short journeys, as they're likely to get uncomfortable after a while. Despite the Astra GTC only having three doors, it's surprisingly easy to get in and out of the back seats, unlike the Scirocco. There's also plenty of storage in the GTC – lots of cubbies, big door bins and a decent-sized glove compartment.

Reliability & safety

3.5 / 5

Made with tried-and-tested parts

Vauxhall is making steady improvements to the reliability of its cars, even if it did drop 13 places in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, placing 26th out of 32 in the manufacturer rankings.

As the Astra GTC is assembled from parts that have been well proven in the standard five-doorAstra, it's likely to be pretty reliable. The GTC has also been awarded the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash-safety tests, securing an excellent 91% score for adult occupant protection. All models have six airbags, electronic stability control and electronic braking assistance as standard. Optional safety extras include hill-start assistance, rear parking sensors and headlights that move in the direction of the steering.

Price, value for money & options

3.2 / 5

Not cheap – make sure you shop around for a discount

The Astra GTC isn’t exactly cheap, coming in at around the same price as a Renault Megane coupe. It is well equipped for the money, though. There are just two specification levels: the basic Sport and the top-of-the-range SRi. The Sport version has electric windows, daytime running lights, a CD player, a DAB digital radio, a USB port, an iPod connection, cruise control, remote central locking and air-conditioning as standard. The SRi model features all that, plus part-leather seats and sat nav.

If you choose the Biturbo diesel engine, you get unique part-leather seats, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, an electronic parking brake and front foglights.

What the others say

3.8 / 5
based on 2 reviews
4 / 5
"A lot of work has been done tuning the arrangement to suit UK roads, and it shows. As we tackled a series of tests, the steering proved accurate, and the car felt remarkably well balanced – particularly through fast and open bends. The test tracks we tried were too smooth to judge the quality of the ride, however, there was plenty of opportunity to make the most of the driver-focused handling."
3.5 / 5
"Of course, at the back the GTC sticks with the same torsion beam axle as other members of the Astra clan – in contrast with the fully independent set-ups of most rivals. However this is located using the same Watts linkage fitted to the hatch and estate, and the GTC gets firmer spring and damper settings."
Last updated 
21 Mar 2014

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