- We like...Classy cabin; fine ride
- We don't...Too expensive
For now, this 178bhp Astra is the quickest you can buy. But ds its sticker price make it worth the ride? Find out here Until the VXR version bowls by, this is the tastiest Vauxhall Astra you can buy. Is it a proper, full on, performance car? Not so far back, its 178bhp and its ability to drag to 60mph from a standstill is under 8secs would have confirmed its status
Now the bar is raised and 200bhp is the entry point, leaving this Astra adrift. Still, this SRi model nods, at least, towards where it wishes to go. Inside, it’s a leap better than the previous car, nicely tricked out in soft-feel, expensive looking plastics, some finished in a convincing satin-metal lustre. All up, it’s not as polished and high-tone as the best-in-class Volkswagen Golf, but it’s good.
It’s bigger than the old car and the extra space gs (mostly) into the cabin, which is roomy front and back, although the prominent centre console lends an appropriately cosy feel to where the driver sits. It’s well kitted out, too.
It’s quick off the mark, that 1.6 turbo motor spinning easily and without apparent lag (delay between you pressing the throttle and the car responding). It’s quiet, too, noisy only if you cane it and then the sound you’ll hear is more protest than sporty burble.
Ours had the optional FlexRide system, which monitors how you drive and adjusts the damper, throttle and steering settings to suit. The dash also carries two buttons, ‘Sport’ and ‘Tour’ with which you can pre-set the system. You’re not aware of the system working away as you drive – but that’s kinda as it should be, because it’s about adaption rather than sudden change. Once you’ve thumbed the ‘Sport’ button, though, you’ll notice the change. The steering weights up, throttle response sharpens and the ride becomes skitter. And, to further underscore that you’re in ‘go’ mode, the instrument lighting switches from white to red. Go the other way and ‘Tour’ puts the car in mellow mood, relaxing the damping and upping the steering assistance.
The system’s fun to play with. But, we’ll bet, six months into ownership, you’ll be pushed to remember when you’d last altered its settings. Particularly since, left alone, the ride is composed – firm enough to stay flat across a bend taken quickly, but with enough ‘give’ to filter bumps effectively – and the steering is feel-ful.
It’s a quick and agreeable friend on a long journey, whether it takes in many miles or stirring cross country blasts.
This Astra may be good, but it isn’t cheap. As it stands, list price for this car runs the high side of £20,000. Add in our test car’s satellite navigation system, FlexRide, headlamps which adjust as you drive at night, and parking sensors and you’ve added £2500 to the invoice. For only a few hundreds of pounds more, you could have a Volkswagen Golf GTi and the Astra can’t compare in such company.
Should you buy one? Perhaps. Make no mistake, it’s a good car. But, at the list price, it’s also an expensive one.
To read the motors.co.uk review - and watch the video - of other current Astra models, click here
To read the motors.co.uk review of the previous-generation Astra, click here
To view and buy new and second-hand Astras on motors.co.uk, click here
- Engines1.6 petrol turbo
- 0-60 mph7.9secs
- Insurance groups
Motors.co.uk value verdict: