The Vauxhall Astra has been on British roads for so long it has almost become an institution. First introduced in 1979, the Astra is now in its seventh generation. A favourite amongst small family buyers, the Astra offer space, practicality, and with one of the biggest range of UK dealerships, a reliability that is difficult to match. With intense competition from the VW Golf, the Ford Focus, and the impressive Skoda Octavia, the Astra finds itself in a difficult market. But with decent performance, ride, and good levels of kit as standard, it’s certainly a major player.
The recent update in 2015 features a complete redesign, with better looks, a high-quality interior, and a much improved driving experience.
Quality interior design and impressive infotainment
In previous generations, the Astra has struggled to match its closest rivals in cabin quality. The new Astra is much improved however, and whilst it might not quite match a VW Golf, it’s got enough class to match the Ford Focus.
Since it’s update in 2015, there have been a lot of changes in the Astra. There’s a completely redesigned dash that uses pleasing soft-touch plastics, glossy inlays, and attractive chrome touches. It altogether feels very contemporary, and has a nice solid feel. It’s not quite as solid as a Golf, but it’s not far behind either.
Space wise the Astra is also reasonably impressive. There’s a nice square boot that has a capacity of 370 litres, which is enough for a buggy and the weekly shop. It falls some way short of the VW Golf and Skoda Octavia, but there’s far more room here than there is in the Ford Focus.
Most versions of the Astra come pretty well-specced. The standard Design trim comes with electric windows and mirrors, air-con, and a touch-screen infotainment system, that incorporates a DAB radio, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity. It’s an impressive package to use, and you can also hook up your iPhone or Android device. To really get the most out of this system, we’d recommend going for the SRI Nav trim, which adds a very useable sat-nav, as well as alloy wheels, front fog lights, automatic wipers, and forward collision alert.
The interior of the Astra is much improved over the previous model. Materials are of a high quality, design touches are well thought out, and there’s a decent level of kit as standard. And with an excellent infotainment system, it really is a solid package.
On The Road
Improved handling still not a match for the Focus
Compared to previous models, the new Astra rides pretty well. Ride quality is refined, and it’s reasonably fun to drive, though it still falls some way short of the Ford Focus.
Vauxhall’s much talked about 200kg weight loss in the Astra shines through when it comes to its handling. It is a much more driver-orientated car than you might expect. Cornering is precise, with little understeer, and body roll is kept to a minimum. Steering however is perhaps a little bit on the light side, though an upgrade to SRI trim improves this with the addition of a Sport button. It’s still not anywhere near as good as a Focus however.
The suspension of the Astra is surprisingly firm. That’s not to say it’s uncomfortable. It’s actually a pretty pleasant ride, ironing out all but the worst of potholes with relative ease, and it also performs well over supermarket speed bumps. Road noise is a little bit of an issue however, though it’s not unbearable. It just lacks the finesse of some of its rivals.
Gearbox options on the Astra come in three guises. On entry-level models there’s a 5-speed manual, that’s reasonably good, though you’ll probably miss a sixth gear on motorways. On the rest of the range the standard is a 6-speed manual, that solves this problem. There’s also a 6-speed automatic option on the 1.4i 150PS Turbo Start/Stop, for those who aren’t so keen on changing gears.
Impressive, eco-friendly engine range
The Astra comes with a selection of engines to suit most people’s needs. There isn’t yet a hot-hatch version of the latest model, though one is sure to be released soon, and there’s still plenty of old ones around.
When it comes to power, the most potent engine at the minute is to be found in the petrol powered 1.4i 150PS Turbo. This four-cylinder engine produces 150PS (or 148bhp), and an impressive 173 lb/ft of torque, that will get you from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds. This isn’t the fastest car in the world, but it’s certainly enough to impress on b-roads.
If you’re more interested in saving some money on fuel, the most efficient engine in the range is the hugely impressive diesel-powered 1.6 CDTi ecoFlex, which offers up to 83.1mpg. You’re going to save yourself some serious cash on fuel with this option.
The 1.6 CDTI ecoFlex also the greenest of the lot, with an eco-friendly 82 g/km of C02 emissions. That falls well below the limit for free car tax, so you’ll be saving yourself some money on that as well. Even the petrol-powered 1.0 Turbo stop/start model falls into the free tax bracket with just 96 g/km.
Whichever engine you go for in your Astra, you’re guaranteed to have an engine capable of everyday activities, from motorways to town driving.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests with good standard safety kit
Like most cars in its class, the Astra achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It’s percentages aren’t quite as impressive as some rivals, but with 86% in adult safety, 84% in child safety, and 83% pedestrian safety, this is still a very safe car. There’s also an array of airbags as standard, and an optional driving assistance pack that’s sure to attract a lot of family buyers. All in all, the Astra is a car that is going to keep both you, and your family safe.
Value for money
Impressively cheap running costs, so long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Vauxhall Astra offers great value for money. This depends on which model you choose to go for, but you’re never going to feel short changed. Most models have exceptionally low C02 emissions, and fuel efficiency is equally impressive, with no model falling below 52.3mpg (1.4i Turbo). This is one of the areas where the Astra really stands out, it’s day-to-day great value.
In terms of insurance, costs are again reasonable. Compared to a VW Golf they’re actually really impressive. The range starts in group 6 for the 1.4i 16V SRi, ranging up to group 20 for the 1.6 CDTi 16V (160bhp) Elite Nav. The Astra really is a good value car.
Depreciation is one area that particularly affects the Vauxhall Astra, especially compared to some rivals. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Vauxhall Corsa is one of the most popular superminis in the UK, and for good reason. With a high quality interior, refined handling, impressive engine options, and cheap running costs, the Corsa should be high up your list when choosing which small, practical car to buy.
Buying a used Vauxhall Astra online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Vauxhall Astra for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Astra. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Vauxhall Astra online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Astra? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Vauxhall, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Astra, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Vauxhall to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.