Vauxhall Astra GTC hatchback (2011-2016) - Engines, drive & performance
The Renault Megane coupe is more accomplished and the Seat Leon SC more fun, but the Vauxhall Astra GTC is still a good all-rounder
The Vauxhall Astra GTC drives as well as it looks thanks to the Insignia VXR’s clever front suspension, increased distance between the front wheels compared to the five-door and a long wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels).
The steering could do with a little more feel, though, while the otherwise pretty comfortable ride can be spoiled by the larger 19-inch alloy wheels fitted to the higher-spec versions.
The engines are all good – the little 1.4-litre petrols are revvy and punchy and the diesels are muscular and relaxing over long distances. The Renault Megane coupe is more accomplished and the Seat Leon SC is more fun, but the Astra GTC is still a good all-rounder.
Vauxhall Astra petrol engines
If you like strong, zingy performance and fuel consumption isn’t your top priority, the Astra GTC’s petrol engines should appeal. Turbocharging gives them plenty of in-gear power for prompt overtaking, although the least powerful 116bhp and 136bhp 1.4-litre engines require frequent gearchanging to stay on song. All emit a sporty rasp under full throttle but get smoother at speed to provide a quiet and refined cruise.
The most powerful petrol (the 194bhp 1.6-litre) can do 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds. That’s about on par with the Renault Megane GT TCe 220, but much slower than the Seat Leon SC 1.8-litre TSI FR’s time of 7.1 seconds.
Vauxhall Astra diesel engines
They don’t have the petrol engines’ sporty character, but the Astra GTC diesels are still a good choice. Okay, the basic 107bhp 1.6-litre CDTi takes a yawning 11.9 seconds to get from 0-62mph, yet it has more than enough pulling power once you’re rolling to provide reasonable overtaking ability.
The 132bhp version is a little better, but it’s the 161bhp 2.0-litre CDTi that really gives the petrol models a run for their money. It goes from 0-62mph in just 8.4 seconds – about half a second faster than the 136bhp 1.4-litre and only half a second slower than the fastest petrol, the 194bhp 1.6-litre. Plus, it’s only marginally slower than the fastest diesel, the 2.0-litre CDTi BiTurbo.
That’s why the 161bhp 2.0-litre CDTi is our favourite engine for the Astra GTC, but for even quicker diesel performance, you’ll have to look beyond this car to the SEAT Leon SC 2.0-litre TDI FR. It does 0-62mph in a very quick 7.4 seconds.