The model was launched in 2015 and has just been facelifted. Actually, that’s underselling the changes since the latest Astra now features new Euro 6d- and RDE2-compliant engines plus improved suspension. What hasn’t changed is the model’s styling, which must say something about the rightness of the original, if not Vauxhall’s bank balance.
But more tax efficient and better to drive though it is, why spend £18,885 on the cheapest facelifted Astra, the 1.2 110 SE, when for £15,000 you could have a pre-facelift model in a high spec and with a strong engine? Something like a 2019/19-reg Astra 1.4T 150 Griffin. Specwise, this run-out special sits between Tech Line Nav and SRi and new, it cost around £19,950. Features include dual-zone climate control, 18in alloy wheels and a sat-nav. The 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine is a good performer and economical as well.
For even better economy, target the 1.6 CDTi diesel in 109bhp and 134bhp forms or, one of our favourites, the 104bhp 1.0T petrol. It’s among the best three-pots out there – all snarly and punchy but, thanks to its balancer shafts, smooth, too. For more power, try the 124bhp 1.4T.
You’re still thinking about the Astra diesel’s poor reliability, right? Then go for that more reliable but still economical 104bhp 1.0T petrol and think what fun you’ll have.
NEED TO KNOW
The Astra’s 1.6 CDTi ‘Whisper’ diesel motor is quieter than the engine it replaced but not as whisper quiet as Vauxhall claims. Still, it does have acoustic covers to muffle noise and vibration, as well as the lowest internal friction in its class. These facts, at least, should shock your dinner party guests into silence.
Although smaller and lower than the model it replaced, and with a shorter wheelbase, the Astra under the spotlight here is roomier. For example, rear-seat passengers enjoy 35mm of extra leg room.
Don’t buy a used Astra on the strength of its remote OnStar concierge service. The facility is being terminated in December 2020, and since January 2019, no new Astras have been fitted with the system.
TOP SPEC PICK
ULTIMATE – For once, a trim name that’s close to the truth. Heated and powered leather seats, climate control, LED matrix headlights, 18in alloys and multiple driver assist features — they’re all here.
Vauxhall Astra 1.0T 105 SRi – This little three-cylinder turbo petrol strikes just the right balance between fun and low running costs, and SRi trim brings a good sat-nav and a larger, 8.0in touchscreen.