Vauxhall Astra GTC hatchback
Price £19,040 - £24,705
- Great to look at
- Even better to drive
- Spacious and comfortable, and well built too
- Interior is drab
- Resale values likely to be low
- Lacks desirability compared to rivals
At a glance
"The Vauxhall Astra GTC is the best-handling, most stylish Vauxhall yet."
The Vauxhall Astra GTC is a rival to the likes of the Renault Megane and Volkswagen Scirocco. It looks good and drives incredibly well, but unfortunately the interior is a bit of a let down with cheap plastics dominating. Both inside and out it is almost an entirely new car from the previous Astra hatchback but it's the performance that impresses most.
There are some really nice design features that have been brought over from the popular Vauxhall Insignia VXR and the new Astra GTC is comfortable and incredibly practical – resulting in it being named CarBuyer's Best Coupe for 2012. The Astra GTC is available with five different engine options – three petrol and two diesel. The car is only available as a three-door, which may put some potential buyers off.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Entry level 1.4-litre cars should be cheapest to insure
Any car with the performance of the Astra GTC isn’t exactly going to be economical, so be prepared for the fuel bills.
The petrol range comprises of a 118bhp or 138bhp 1.4-litre engine and a 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine.
There are four diesel options - a 109bhp or 128bhp 1.7-litre engine and a 163bhp or 192bhp 2.0-litre BiTurbo engine.
To improve fuel economy, most cars have been equipped with stop-start technology as standard – a few of them don’t so be sure to check before you buy. We’d 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, so do take this into consideration when buying.
Interior & comfort
Lightweight body means no super-stiff suspension
The all-new Astra GTC comes with a whole new suspension set up making it a comfortable car to drive. It even comes with adjustable suspension so you can tailor it for better handling or comfort. There is also the optional FlexRide system, which adjusts the suspension to match the road surface. The dimensions of the car mean that the back seats aren’t really usable for long journeys but there is reasonable headroom and all the seats are supportive and comfortable. The Astra GTC comes equipped with some fantastic racing seats up front that are constructed from lightweight fiberglass and are well bolstered and comfortable. There's not very much road noise inside the car either – even if you add the 19 or 20-inch optional alloy wheels.
Practicality & boot space
Spacious inside for a coupe, and there's a generous boot
For a three-door hatchback, the boot space on the GTC is surprisingly good and rather substantial compared to other cars of similar size on the market, with 380-litres of space with the rear seats in place – significantly larger than that of a Volkswagen Scirocco. Once you fold the back seats down flat, the capacity expands to 1,165-litres but the high-load-lip means that loading and unloading heavy items into the boot can be a bit of a pain.
There is enough room in the back for three adults but only really for short journeys as it's likely to get uncomfortable after longer periods on the road. Despite only having three doors it is surprisingly easy to get in and out of the rear of the car, unlike the Scirocco. There is also plenty of storage in the GTC; lots of cubbies, big door bins and a decent sized glove compartment inside.
Reliability & safety
Based on tried and tested parts
Vauxhall is making steady improvements with the reliability of its cars, even if it did drop 13 places in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey – placing 26 out of 32 in the manufacturer rankings.
As the Astra GTC is assembled from parts that have been put through rigorous use in the standard Astra, by UK and German engineering teams, it is 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 per cent for adult occupancy. All models come fitted with six airbags, electronic stability control (ESP) and electronic brake distribution as standard. Optional extras include hill-start assist, rear parking sensors and adaptive cornering headlights.
Engines, drive & performance
Accurate steering and powerful brakes make for an exciting drive
Vauxhall has done its best to setup 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 front suspension and an upgraded version of the Astra hatchback's rear suspension, it's excellent to drive through corners. The performance from the engines across the whole range is unquestionable.
Price, value for money & options
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 the Renault Megane coupe, but you do get a decent equipment list for your money. The Astra comes in two main specifications – the entry-level Sport and the top-spec SRi. The Sport version is equipped with electric windows, daytime running lights, CD/MP3 player, DAB radio, USB and iPod connectivity, cruise control, remote central locking and air-conditioning as standard. The SRi model features all that, plus part-leather seats and sat-nav. If all that just isn’t enough, then go for the BiTurbo model, which features unique part-leather seats, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, electronic parking brake and front fog lights.
What the others say
"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."
"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."