Vauxhall Astra SRi
The SRi is the sporty model in the Astra range, and Vauxhall has made several modifications that make it much more fun to drive than the standard Astra – without making it uncomfortable to drive.
The sporty Vauxhall Astra SRi may not be as quick as the rapid Vauxhall Astra VXR, but it is significantly cheaper to run. There’s a huge choice when it comes to the engines on offer including 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre options as well as turbocharged petrol engines including a turbo 1.6 that produces 180bhp, making it the most powerful in the range.
If a diesel engine suits you better, there are four of Vauxhall’s economical EcoFlex engines available. Kicking off with a low-power 95bhp 1.3-litre engine, the 110bhp and 125bhp 1.7-litre engines feel faster and smoother, with the range-topping 130bhp 2.0-litre diesel the most powerful of the bunch. All of these are available with a stop-start system, which turns the engine off at idle to help fuel economy and emissions.
The biggest change on the SRi is its lowered and stiffened suspension, which improves handling and makes the car slightly more fun to drive. That said, it’s worth mentioning that the basic 1.4-litre petrol comes without this, and it isn’t available as an option either.
Equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, darkened headlights and tail-lights, front foglights, sports seats and leather trim on the steering wheel and gear stick.
Thanks to the suspension changes, the Vauxhall Astra SRi is in many ways the best Astra to drive. Its steering is more direct, making it much sharper in the corners, and while the sports suspension does give the SRi a stiffer ride than other Astras, it is still relatively comfortable.
The Vauxhall Astra is one of the most stylish cars in its class, and the SRi’s sporty details and trim changes complement its looks. Like all Astras, the fit and finish of the interior is almost on a par with the Volkswagen Golf’s. It is well priced and, because the SRi is a popular choice, it holds its value slightly better than other models.
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The SRi may be slightly better to drive than other Astras, but it still isn't as fun as a Ford Focus on a twisty country road. Despite the suspension changes, the steering could still be sharper and the gear shifts aren’t very positive. What's more, a lot of the engines feel quite underpowered, thanks to the long gearing that is designed to help fuel economy.
It is also much more expensive than the more basic cars in the Vauxhall Astra range, costing around £3,000 more than the equivalent Vauxhall Astra Design. The SRi may not depreciate as quickly as other Astras, but it still comes up short when compared to the Volkswagen Golf.
What you get
- Alloy wheels
- Folding rear seats
- Passenger & Driver airbag
- Front side airbags
- Curtain airbags
- Front fog lights
- Manual air conditioning
- Leather steering wheel
- Height adjustable driver's seat
- Single CD player
- AUX stereo input
- Cruise control
- Sports suspension
- Sports seats
Recommended optional extras
- Front and rear parking sensors
- 18-inch alloy wheels
A sporty-style car such as the Vauxhall Astra SRi deserves strong performance, and Vauxhall’s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine gives just that. It is also relatively cheap to run.