Vauxhall Astra (2015-present)

The latest Vauxhall Astra is an appealing and strong value family hatchback - especially used

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Good selection of petrol and diesel engines
Great value used with low cash prices
Satisfying to drive

Weaknesses 

VW Golf much plusher inside
Fairly average warranty cover
Loses value quickly from new

The Vauxhall Astra has long been one of Britain's best-selling cars and this current version deserves its success.

Previous versions have been middle-of-the-road options, however the latest Astra is one of the best all-round family hatchbacks that you can buy, offering comfort, value, space and decent fuel economy.

It's also a fun car to drive, with zippy engines and steering that's accurate and quick to respond, so you can take corners smoothly and with confidence.

Few rival cars offer so much for the money, even though they are better in some areas: the Renault Megane and Peugeot 308 are more comfortable on bumpy roads, the Ford Focus and Mazda 3 are more fun to drive; the Skoda Octavia and Honda Civic offer more space; while the Volkswagen Golf improves on the quality of the Astra's well-made interior.

The Astra is one of the best in its class for running costs, with very efficient turbocharged petrol and diesel engines delivering highly impressive claimed fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures. These are also helped by the fact that this car is on average 200kg lighter than its predecessor - less weight means lower fuel consumption and better acceleration plus better cornering ability.

Inside, a large touchscreen display dominates the dashboard and there’s been a general step up in quality compared to the previous Astra. Another improvement has been made to interior space: despite this Astra being more compact outside than the old one, there’s more passenger room inside and the boot is the same size as before.

A good spread of trim levels ensure that you should be able to find the standard equipment you're looking for, while the high-tech philosophy extends to the Astra’s line-up of safety kit. The Driver Assistance Pack (standard on the SRi version and optional elsewhere in the range) includes forward collision alert (which warns you if you’re about to hit the car in front and brakes if you don’t respond), traffic-sign recognition, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assistance. More traditional safety gear such as airbags, Isofix child-seat mounts, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, tyre-pressure monitoring and emergency braking assistance are also available.

Last Updated 

Sunday, June 30, 2019 - 14:45

Key facts 

Warranty: 
Three years/60,000 miles
Boot size: 
370 litres
Width: 
1,809mm
Length: 
4,270mm
Height: 
1,485mm
Tax: 
£100 to £200 in first year, £145 thereafter / Pre-April 2017 cars: £0 to £145

Best Vauxhall Astra for... 

Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 16V ecoFLEX Design 5dr diesel hatchback
Vauxhall gives the ecoFLEX name to the most efficient petrol and diesel engines in its cars’ ranges. The Astra uses the brand’s 1.6-litre ‘Whisper’ diesel engines, which in addition to being very quiet (unlike many diesels) are extremely efficient: claimed fuel economy in this version is 83mpg and CO2 emissions are 88g/km – well below the threshold for free road tax (for models registered before April 2017), though you're likely to see much less in real-world driving.
Vauxhall Astra 1.0T 12V ecoFLEX Design 5dr hatchback
While diesel engines are good for high-mileage motorway drivers, petrol is better suited to the typical family motoring mix of short school and shopping trips and longer weekend excursions. There’s an ecoFLEX petrol, too, returning over 65mpg - though again, expect much less in real-world driving - while the entry-level Design trim has everything you’ll really need.
Vauxhall Astra 1.6T 16V 200 SRi 5dr hatchback
For now the most powerful 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine is pretty potent, getting the car from 0-62mph in just 6.6 seconds. It really looks the part in sporty SRi trim, too.
Vauxhall Astra 1.4T 16V 150 Elite Nav 5dr Auto hatchback
Astras are known for losing value quickly from new, so splashing big money on a high-spec version isn’t a very wise financial decision. The combination of an automatic gearbox and the second-most-powerful engine in the range makes for fairly steep running costs, too, so we'd avoid this version.

Vauxhall Astra History 

September 2015: Seventh-generation Vauxhall Astra goes on sale in the UK
December 2015: Astra one of seven nominees for European Car Of The Year 2016

Understanding Vauxhall Astra car names 

  • Astra
  • Engine
    1.6 CDTi Bi-Turbo 16V 160
  • Trim
    Elite Nav
  • Doors
    5dr
  • Engine
    There’s one non-turbocharged petrol engine in the range (the 1.4i), three turbos (1.0i, 1.4i and 1.6i) and three diesels, all version of Vauxhall’s 1.6-litre CDTi.
  • Trim
    There are five basic Astra trim levels – or versions: Design, Tech Line, Energy, SRi and Elite. The last two also have ‘Nav’ versions that add standard satellite navigation

Vauxhall Astra Engines 

1.4i, 1.0i Turbo, 1.4i Turbo, 1.6i Turbo (petrol); 1.6 CDTi (diesel)

Like most modern manufacturers, Vauxhall has turned to turbocharging technology in order to help its engines meet the latest emissions regulations, while still giving customers the power and fuel-efficiency they want.

There is a single non-turbocharged engine in the range – the entry-level 1.4i with just 100hp. Although it makes the Astra pretty cheap to buy, you end up with a car that feels quite lacklustre to drive (0-62mph takes more than 12 seconds - a long time for a modern car) and works out relatively expensive to run, with poorer fuel economy and higher emissions than some of the more powerful engines.

The 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol is a great engine, and our pick of the range if you generally do shorter trips rather than long motorway runs. A few years ago, a 1.0-litre engine would have seemed out of place in a car this size, but the latest models work very well, getting the Astra from 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds while still being capable of returning well over 60mpg when driven gently.

If you want more power, there are two versions of a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, putting out 125hp and 150hp respectively. They have identical economy figures, although if you regularly use the latter’s performance to the full, you probably won’t reach those figures. Rounding off the petrol line-up is the punchy 200hp 1.6-litre, which makes the Astra fast enough to be considered a hot hatchback, with a commensurate reduction in fuel economy.

As you’d expect, diesel is what you want if you’re after the most efficient Astra. The car is available with a choice of three 1.6-litre CDTi ‘Whisper’ engines – so called because they’re considerably quieter than normal for a diesel. The headline claimed economy figure here is 83mpg for the entry-level 110hp version, but if you fancy a little bit more oomph, even the more powerful 136hp and 160hp versions can hit mid-to-high 70s on smaller wheels. With all of these models, though, expect more like 55-60mpg with real-world roundabouts, hills and traffic jams.

Fuel

Mpg

Bhp

0 - 62mph

top speed

1.4i

Petrol

51.4 - 52.3mpg

100hp

12.6 secs

115mph

1.0i Turbo

Petrol

64.2 - 68.9mpg

105hp

10.5 - 11.9 secs

124mph

1.4i Turbo

Petrol

51.4 - 52.3mpg

125hp

8.6 secs

127mph

1.4i Turbo

Petrol

51.4 - 52.3mpg

150hp

7.8 - 8.4 secs

134mph

1.6i Turbo

Petrol

46.3mpg

200hp

6.6 secs

146mph

1.6 CDTi

Diesel

83.1 - 85.6mpg

110hp

10.2 secs

124mph

1.6 CDTi

Diesel

62.8 - 74.3mpg

136hp

9.0 - 9.1 secs

127mph

1.6 CDTi

Diesel

67.3 - 78.5mpg

160hp

8.1 secs

137mph

 

Vauxhall Astra Trims 

Design, Tech Line, Energy, SRi, SRi Nav, Elite, Elite Nav

Vauxhalls tend to be good value from a standard equipment perspective, with even the entry-level models getting plenty of features. The Astra upholds this: the cheapest Design version sports 16-inch alloys, a four-speaker stereo, smartphone integration, DAB radio, Bluetooth, air-conditioning, cruise control and electric windows all round.

Tech Line adds a leather steering wheel, a six-speaker stereo and satellite navigation, while the Energy doesn’t have the six-speaker stereo or sat nav, but it also gets a leather wheel, plus 17-inch alloys and heated front seats.

Next up is the sporty SRi, which gives the Astra more comfortable sports seats, rain-sensing wipers and the Vauxhall OnStar system – a sort of in-car ‘concierge service’ that you can contact for help with driving directions, booking your car in for a service or assistance in the event of an crash or other incident. SRi Nav is the same, save for the addition of sat nav.

The top-of-the-range version of the Astra is called the Elite. It’s packed with luxury-car features such as a heated steering wheel, ergonomic heated leather seats, USB charging points in the back, dual-zone climate control, power-folding mirrors and the OnStar system. Elite Nav adds sat nav to the mix. The only downside with these versions is that all that kit doesn’t really boost the car’s price on the secondhand market, so their residual values are weaker than the less expensive trim levels.

Vauxhall Astra Reliability and warranty 

This latest generation of the Astra has only been on sale in the UK for around six months, so there isn’t any comprehensive data on its long-term reliability available just yet. Judging by the results of Auto Express magazine’s 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, though, it needs to make a big improvement on its predecessor, which owners ranked 178th overall, 188th for reliability and 169th for build quality out of 200 cars surveyed.

Vauxhall’s warranty isn’t all that impressive, either. The company used to offer an innovative ‘lifetime’ warranty that covered its cars’ first owners for an unlimited amount of time up to 100,000 miles, but withdrew that offer some time ago. Today, all new Vauxhalls get a fairly standard three-year/60,000-mile guarantee, which is about the minimum buyers expect

Used Vauxhall Astra 

Again, with this Astra only having been on sale for around six months, there are few examples on the used market right now, so its residual values are something of an unknown. Previous versions of the Astra have traditionally been very popular with private buyers, fleet companies and car-rental firms, though, leading to large numbers of them coming up for sale secondhand and values suffering as a result.

It remains to be seen whether this latest Astra’s step up in quality and efficiency will see that trend reversed. At the time of writing, dealer discounts varied considerably, with up to 10% being offered off the price of more expensive and powerful versions, but little movement on the list price of the more efficient and popular engines.

 

List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance

Vauxhall Astra 1.6T 16V 200 SRi 5dr

Price

£20,435

£18,363

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Save

10%

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Best for families

Vauxhall Astra 1.0T 12V ecoFLEX Design 5dr

Price

£15,995

£14,931

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N/a

Save

7%

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Best for economy

Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 16V ecoFLEX Design 5dr

Price

£17,495

£16,341

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N/a

N/a

Save

2%

N/a

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