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Car trim reviews

Vauxhall Astra Elite

"The Vauxhall Astra Elite is the top-of-the-range model. It has loads of equipment and very economical diesel engines."

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The Vauxhall Astra Elite is the top-of-the-range model in the hatchback's line-up. As the 'Elite' name may suggest, its top-end placement in the Astra's range means it comes with bags of equipment as standard. You are treated to automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, automatic climate control and heated, leather sports seats. Unlike the SRi or VX-Line models, the Elite is designed to be a little more discreet, as it forgoes the racier bodykits and sharp alloy wheels.

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The Astra Elite is available with either a 1.6-litre petrol engine or a 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine. The former is capable of 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds, while economy is a fairly average 44.8mpg. If you choose the diesel engine, the 0-62mph time takes a slightly longer time of 11.4 seconds, but economy is much improved: a claimed 78.5mpg is possible, according to Vauxhall, and carbon dioxide emissions of just 94 grams per kilometre means road tax is free. Strangely, only the diesel versions have start/stop technology as standard, which is due in part to the brand's ecoFLEX tech being applied to all diesel versions.

This generation of the Astra is coming to the end of its life, so you should expect to get a hefty discount if you buy from a dealer. This will help to offset the Astra's rather poor resale values on the used market. If you do buy a new one, we'd suggest specifying the Navi 950 sat-nav. It comes equipped with Vauxhall's IntelliLink system and European mapping, so it should help to futureproof your Astra.

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Good points

The Astra's ride quality is great for those looking for a comfortable drive. Wind noise is low and both the diesel and petrol engines are pretty quiet for the most part, so you'll feel comfortable doing a motorway cruise.The interior is quite a nice place to be. It's attractively styled, well built and its buttons are neatly organised.Even though this generation of the Astra is set to be repaced soon, it still remains one of the more stylish options in its class, compared to the conservatively-styled Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf.

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Bad points

For around the same price, the Volkswagen Golf GT has satellite navigation on board as standard. Although the Astra Elite comes with a lot of equipment, sat-nav is a valuable option which costs extra.Astra buyers will find it hard to recoup a large amount of the purchase price back, as resales for this generation are relatively poor compared to other hatchbacks. In fact, if you do want any Astra, it's worth haggling at the dealer, looking through car broker sites or even consider buying a 'nearly-new' ex-demonstrator to save yourself some money.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Folding rear seats
  • Electric folding wing mirrors
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Front fog lights
  • Auto climate control
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Front electric windows
  • Single CD player
  • AUX stereo input
  • Cruise control
  • Automatic wipers
  • Part leather seats
  • Sports seats
  • Rear electric windows

Recommended optional extras

  • Navi 950 IntelliLink

Our choice

The 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine with 108bhp will be more than enough for most. The impressive claimed fuel economy of 78.5mpg and CO2 emissions of just 94g/km means it should take longer between fuel stops and you escape road tax too.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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