The new Vauxhall Astra features a quality and solidity that's right up there with the Volkswagen Golf, especially in its impressive interior. On the road it's comfortable, and even rivals the Ford Focus. As a range, the Vauxhall Astra will be a very strong contender in the family hatchback segment - there is a huge amount of choice. The practical estate and sporty three-door GTC coupe model help to extend the appeal of Vauxhall's latest family hatcback.
- Quality interior
- Cabin comfort
- Punchy turbocharged petrol engines
- Fussy interior controls
- Questionable reliability
Good looks, an upmarket interior and a class-leading smooth suspension make the Astra five-door a great family hatchback. Add Vauxhall's aggressive pricing strategy, and it's not surprising that the car is consistently placed at the top of the UK's sales charts. New in 2009, it still looks fresh, drives well and is comfortable, but it's a common sight on UK roads. That counts against it, as it won’t be worth very much when you come to sell on.
- Versatile seating arrangement
- Elegant, stylish looks
- Large boot
- Not best driver’s car
- Diesels noisy if pushed
- Not all models get one-touch folding seats
The Sports Tourer is the more practical brother of the Astra hatchback, offering 188 litres extra boot space when compared to the smaller car. The good news is that in the conversion to an estate bodystyle, the Astra has lost none of its impressive driving characteristics and is still a very polished on-road performer.
- Blisteringly quick
- Stunning looks
- Comfortable for this class
- Expensive to run
- RS Megane is marginally sharper
The Vauxhall Astra VXR sits at the very top of the Astra range and is focused on delivering driver thrills from its focused design and hugely powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged 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 through firming up the suspension to give the VXR as much traction and grip as possible. Despite its extreme nature the VXR does work as an every day car too, the only problem will be the firm ride, which will cause a bit of discomfort over long journeys.
- 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
According to its maker, the Vauxhall Astra GTC won’t just be the best looking car on the road, but also 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 its rivals in the style stakes. The Astra's swoopy bodywork and swept back, LED-equipped headlamps help it stand out from the crowd. Entry-level models offer 18-inch wheels, while larger 19-inch wheels are standard on higher-spec cars. Drivers after more road presence can plump for massive 20-inchers – a unique offering compared to its rivals.