The Vauxhall Astra first appeared in the late 70s, and it was based on the popular Opel Kadett. When arrived, the Astra was available in just three body styles, coming as a hatchback, saloon and estate.
Since then, six generations have followed, bringing with them more customisation options, as well as new variants and cleaner, more efficient engines. Despite a whole new breed of competition, it’s maintained its popularity, thanks to competitive list prices and decent amounts of standard equipment.
And this latest generation model features equipment found in more premium rivals, which makes it something of a bargain for a sub-£20,000 price. It’s easy to understand just why it’s so popular.
How did it build on the previous generation? It offers better safety features, as well as higher levels of technology including onboard wifi – though this isn’t available as standard on all models.
On the road
One of the areas Vauxhall wanted to focus on with the latest Astra was a range of efficient engines, these go from a 1.4-litre petrol right the way up to a 1.6-litre diesel – with many different combinations in between.
Overall, the Astra is on average 200kg lighter than the car it replaces, allowing it to offer better levels of efficiency and economy. There’s even a 1.6-litre, 200bhp engine petrol engine on offer for those who want a little more performance to hand.
The Astra has always suffered somewhat with depreciation, owing to its substantial production numbers bringing down demand – especially in the used market. However, with the new model featuring better technology and build quality, there’s a chance that this could bring these residuals up.
In the cabin
The Astra has to offer excellent levels of practicality, and thankfully it does just that. It’s able to offer 370 litres of boot space, though this can be increased to 1,210 litres with the rear seats folded flat. It’s certainly more than the Ford Focus’ 316 litres of space, though still lags behind the segment-favourite Volkswagen Golf’s, which sits at an impressive 380 litres.
However, if it’s out-and-out space that you’re looking for, then the Sports Tourer is a far more appealing option. It has a significantly larger boot than the hatch at 540 litres, while this can be raised to 1,630 litres with those rear seats folded flat. It’s certainly a usable load area and one which will suit families who’ve got a lot to transport around.
Though smaller than the car it replaces, the new Astra is actually able to afford its occupants an impressive amount of space. There are good levels of knee and headroom – even with three people in the back. If you’re looking for a comfortable and spacious and car, then the Astra isn’t a bad choice – and older models offer similar positives.
There is a lot to like about the Astra, the biggest being the high levels of equipment you get as standard, and also the drive is pleasantly rewarding. The only downsides are the somewhat substandard build quality, and because of the high numbers that are produced and sold, residuals aren’t as strong as rival brands.