Motoring

Vauxhall Astra Hatchback review

Vauxhall Astra
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

This worthy family car from Vauxhall makes for a comfortable ride zipping around town.

Follow motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay on Instagram @tbarnesclay.

Some cars are so gorgeous it’s difficult not to get precious about them. Others are workhorses that just do the job. The Astra is the latter.

That’s not to say I don’t like the looks of the Vauxhall – I do. It’s not a “Wow” car, but it’s not aesthetically offensive, either. It just merges in with the rest of the motors on the school run.

Even in vaguely athletic SRi guise, you’d hope the car might have something special about it. But, no, it doesn’t. Not standing out from the crowd isn’t all that bad, though. It keeps you from looking too “bling” and possibly makes your ride less of a target for thieves.

Effortless manoeuvring

The Astra, as tested here in hatchback guise, is a decent tool for ferrying the kids around without drama. It fits a family of five in it, although, at 370-litres, the boot isn’t the largest. Still, it copes okay, and the five-door car is easy to get in and out of. There are ISOFIX child seat mounting points on the outer rear seats, too.

The drive is on the verge of clinical – the Griffin-badged car does the job well enough, but there’s no real feel. I felt oddly detached when behind the wheel. I think it’s because the steering is very light. Sure, this makes parking and manoeuvring around town effortless, but a weightier feel at speed would be welcome.

It all just feels a little bland. But, hey, Vauxhalls are good value, and as there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the Astra, I can’t help but recommend it as a worthy family car. Go for the SRi VX-Line NAV and you get a well-equipped vehicle. Goodies include a seven-inch colour touchscreen, navigation, sports-style front seats and cruise control.

My parting comment is to opt for a manual variant. I was given a “stepless auto” to try. Yes, no clutch means driving is less of a hassle, but in 1.4 turbo petrol guise, going automatic can make the Astra a bit thirsty.

Fast Facts – Vauxhall Astra SRi VX-Line NAV 1.4 Turbo (145PS) Auto as tested:

  • Max speed: 130mph
  • 0-60 mph: 9.0 seconds
  • Combined mpg: 47.9
  • Engine layout: 1342cc, 3-cylinder turbo petrol
  • Max. power (PS): 145
  • CO2: 112g/km
  • Price: £25,635

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