Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer estate - Engines, drive & performance
Even in estate form, the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer remains one of our favourite cars in the class to drive
If you’re after a small family estate car that offers a great balance between a comfortable ride and an entertaining drive, then the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer could well be it. Yes, the Volkswagen Golf Estate is comfier and the Ford Focus Estate sharper to drive, but the Astra sits in the middle, combining the best of both worlds to make a great all-rounder. Unlike it's nearest rivals, the Astra is now only available with a range of three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
You don’t get quite as much feel through the steering wheel as in the Focus, but the Astra resists body lean in corners impressively well and has plenty of grip, too. You can tell the car’s lost a lot of weight compared to the previous version, too, as it feels much more agile than the old model.
The way the brakes work may take a little getting used to – the feel through the pedal is a bit strange, but once you do, you’ll find that they’re impressively powerful.
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer petrol engines
The revised Sports Tourer line-up features only two petrol choices. The three-cylinder turbocharged 1.2-litre unit comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, and is available in three power outputs. The base 109bhp version manages 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds.
Pick the 128bhp version of the same engine, and it offers a barely noticeable improvement, with 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds. Naturally, the range-topping 143bhp version is the quickest, getting from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds.
Of the three engines, the mid-range 128bhp version is our recommendation as it offers similar performance to the more powerful option but costs less to buy.
A naturally aspirated 1.4-litre three-cylinder unit is also available, and produces 143bhp. It's only available with an automatic gearbox, managing 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds. We don’t recommend it, as it feels underpowered and is less efficient than all versions of the turbocharged 1.2-litre engine.
The Astra Sports Tourer is available with a 1.5-litre diesel engine with 104bhp or 120bhp. Performance is perfectly acceptable from both, with 0-62mph taking 9.9 seconds with the 120bhp engine or 10.4 seconds in the 108bhp model.
Our favourite is the 120bhp version, as it offers the best balance between performance and running costs. It’s easily powerful enough to haul heavy loads around, too.