Like the Ford Focus, the Vauxhall Astra is a bit of a household name – and continues to sell well despite having been around almost unchanged for five years. It's slipping down the rankings though, with newer rivals beating the Astra in terms of running costs, practicality and owner satisfaction.
Available as a three or five-door hatchback or a more practical estate, the Vauxhall Astra offers buyers a frankly mind-boggling array of trims and engines – ranging from the basic Expression with a 1.4-litre petrol engine, to the range-topping Elite and Bi-Turbo models.
It's worth noting that Vauxhall's lifetime warranty is only available on new cars and for the first owner – but big discounts should be easily attainable.
- Good-quality interior
- Very comfortable
- Great petrol engines
- Poor resale values
- Lacklustre steering
- Mid and high-spec models expensive
The Vauxhall Astra hatchback has been on sale since 2009. It was facelifted in 2013, but while it still offers decent value for money, the Ford Focus is more fun to drive and the Volkswagen Golf has a much higher-quality interior.
The Astra has a decently sized boot and there's enough room inside for four adults. The dashboard design is taken from the larger Vauxhall Insignia and feels a little cluttered, although mid-spec models come with a reasonable amount of kit.
If you still like the look of the Astra after considering its newer and more accomplished rivals, make sure you haggle a big discount. Vauxhall salesmen are always keen to strike a good deal, so play your cards right and you’ll end up with a decent family-car bargain.
- Versatile seating arrangement
- Elegant, stylish looks
- Large boot
- Not the best driver’s car
- Diesels noisy when pushed
- Not all models get one-touch folding seats
The Vauxhall Astra estate is known as the Sports Tourer. It's a more practical version of the Vauxhall Astra hatchback, offering 188 litres more boot space compared to the smaller car. The good news is that in the transformation from hatchback to estate, the Astra has lost none of its impressive driving characteristics and is still a very polished performer.
- Great to look at
- Even better to drive
- Spacious, comfortable and well built
- Poor resale values
- Drab interior design
- Not as desirable as rivals
According to its maker, the Vauxhall Astra GTC isn't just one of the best-looking cars on the road, but also one of the most exciting to drive. It's aimed at the likes of the Volkswagen Scirocco and Renault Megane Coupé, and there's no doubt it can match them the style stakes. The Astra's swoopy bodywork and swept-back LED headlamps help it stand out from the crowd. Entry-level models have 18-inch alloy wheels, while larger 19-inch rims are standard on higher-spec cars. Drivers who want even more road presence can pay extra for massive 20-inch wheels – a unique option in this class.
- Blisteringly quick
- Stunning looks
- Comfortable for this class
- Expensive to buy
- Expensive to run
- Renaultsport Megane is slightly better
The Vauxhall Astra VXR sits at the very top of the Astra range and is focused on delivering driving thrills, with sophisticated suspension and a hugely powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. With 276bhp, it's the most powerful car in its class and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds. The handling has been tweaked by firming up the suspension to give the VXR as much grip as possible. Despite its extreme nature, the VXR does work as an everyday car, too. The only problem could be the firm ride, which causes a bit of discomfort on long journeys.