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Review: New Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra
The Vauxhall Astra is back and its 7th model looks better than ever, inside and out. A smooth drive and increased interior space is matched with a price that is lower than the previous model. Could 2016 be the year that the Astra pulls ahead of the hatchback pack?

How has the design been updated?

The Astra has been an ever-present part of the British motor industry for 36 years now. With such a weighty legacy, updating the much-loved vehicle could be a challenge. Vauxhall have upped their game for 2016 though, with a distinctive sharp new look. For a start the new Astra has a noticeably smaller exterior than the previous model, whilst having more space in the interior.

This increase is keenly felt when it comes to leg space, with both the front and rear offering ample room. The boot volume is generous and rear seats can be adjusted to allow for more length and height for increased loading. The upgrade to the interior appearance consists solely of trims and decorative foils made to the door consoles and fascia, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the Astra’s pleasant interior overall.

There are interior elements to the Astra that impress less however. The seats can feel hard and uncomfortable, whilst the look and feel of the steering-wheel adjustment lever is a little cheap.

How does it handle?

Motorists used to the previous generations of Astra will know that the model excels at comfort, ease of use and isolation; often at the sacrifice of handling and performance. This isn’t the case with the new Astra. A drop in weight of 130kg from the previous model has resulted in a noticeable improvement to the car’s agility. The lighter vehicle absorbs bumps on the road with ease and the overall improvement to handling makes it a pleasure to drive.

The only niggling negative with the Astra’s handling is the consistency of its steering. At times it can feel light, but becomes heavier as you add lock. It is all small criticism for a car which overall handles superbly.

What are the engine options?

The new Vauxhall Astra comes with a range of petrol and diesel engines, giving motorists the choice to power their drive according to their preferences. The pick of these is Vauxhall’s new “whisper” 1.6-litre diesel. Its popularity stems from its quiet and smooth nature, whilst getting 91mpg. On the environmental front its 108bhp version emits just 85g/km of CO2.

How safe and secure is it?

Safety and security have always been a practical aspect that the Astra has been well-known for and the new Astra is no different. Stability control, which stabilises a vehicle when a loss of traction is detected, comes as standard. All models are equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system, which will alert the owner to changes in tyre pressure. To protect the car from theft, an engine immobiliser is a feature of every Astra and means the car will only start with the correct key.

Verdict

Hatchback competition from the likes of Ford and Volkswagen is fierce, but Vauxhall have released an updated version of the Astra that holds its own. A smart exterior and interior, along with an undeniably smooth ride make it a fine entry to the hatchback market.

Prices start from: £15,295

 

Considering other hatchback options? Check our blog for more reviews:

www.wewantanycar.com/news/new-ford-focus-st-2015-review/
www.wewantanycar.com/news/new-vw-golf-2015-review/

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