This eighth-generation Astra is a return to type for Vauxhall. It handles properly and gives a stable slice of consolation, practicality (we would nonetheless like just a little extra legroom, although) and refinement, whereas this petrol mannequin’s efficiency is simply sufficient. The boot is large, the tech is powerful and as a price proposition the Astra is interesting, additionally helped by its sturdy record of normal package and sensible styling. Despite extra stress than ever on the household hatchback sector from the ever-expanding crops of SUVs, the Astra providing is stronger than ever.

Now into its eighth era, the most recent Astra is a big automobile for Vauxhall. The model took the highest spot for registrations with its Corsa supermini final yr, and this new Astra is seeking to construct on this success with sensible design, loads of tech and electrified powertrains alongside pure petrol fashions to maintain the inhabitants serious about one in every of Britain’s best-selling nameplates.

Let’s begin with the appears to be like, as a result of whether or not you prefer it or not, this new automobile is definitely extra fashionable than the dowdy previous five-door household hatch it changed. The look options quite a lot of design parts which are much like the most recent Volkswagen Golf 8; as they are saying, if you cannot beat them…

But that is doing the Vauxhall a disservice, as a result of within the metallic it is a cohesive piece of automobile design that offers the Astra actual persona – and also you could not all the time say that about earlier generations of the automobile.

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The identical is true on the within, the place the agency’s Pure Panel combines a digital sprint and a central touchscreen, each sized at 10-inches (for now – extra on this later) on this mid-spec GS Line check automobile that we have tried right here within the UK.

Incidentally, this may make up 65 per cent of gross sales, and mixed with the 128bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol guide powertrain we have tried, would be the hottest Astra within the newly simplified vary. Entry-level Design and top-spec Ultimate sit both facet of our check automobile, with Vauxhall having slimmed its general mannequin, engine and trim line-up down from 362 derivatives to a way more manageable 54.

Under the pores and skin the Astra makes use of the most recent V3 model of the Stellantis EMP2 platform, with 50 per cent new elements in contrast with the earlier structure. This is what has made a full Astra EV (coming subsequent yr) attainable, whereas the agency has fine-tuned parts of this structure to distinguish it from sister model Peugeot, which additionally makes use of this tech for its lately revised 308 household hatch. The steering, suspension damper charges and bump stops, in addition to the anti-roll bar set-up, have all been tweaked for the Astra, with a deal with stability at increased speeds.

On the transfer the Astra feels sporty. Even on our automobile’s 17-inch alloys (18s are fitted on top-spec vehicles) there is a agency edge to the journey, but it surely does not severely influence consolation; it is extra that the Astra’s chassis is tautly managed, which provides a way of driving satisfaction the automobile has never supplied. Speed helps clean out this trait to some extent too, so on ribbed and rucked nation roads the Vauxhall’s suspension copes comparatively properly with cambers and bumps, but it additionally delivers sufficient assist to provide a way of engagement.

Roll is properly managed and the sportier tuning over, say, a 308 means the Astra’s entrance axle turns in pretty keenly, helped by gentle however exact steering. We’d follow the default setting although, as Sport mode provides an excessive amount of synthetic weight. While it isn’t fairly as agile or as pleasing to drive as a Ford Focus, it is one of many extra dynamic household hatchbacks on provide.

It’s additionally comparatively refined. All fashions function a soundproofed windscreen, and the Astra’s low drag coefficient of 0.269 means it cuts by means of the air sharply.

But this refinement serves to spotlight that the 1.2 Turbo unit is just a little grumbly underneath exhausting load. At a cruise it is quiet, however the characterful thrum turns into fairly noticeable should you goal for the 9.7-second 0-60mph time Vauxhall claims for this guide mannequin.

We don’t have any main points with the efficiency although. With a most of 230Nm of torque and a few intelligent weight-saving tech such because the boot lid produced from thermoplastic, the Astra serves up simply sufficient flexibility so you do not have to work the gearbox too exhausting.

The six-speed transmission’s shift is suitable – not essentially the most exact however not the wooliest both – and general the ergonomics inside are good, helped by seats which are good on your backbone, as licensed by AGR, the Campaign for Healthier Backs in Germany.

This consists of the position of the Pure Panel screens; the 2 10-inch panels look good and work properly, boasting loads of options, together with wi-fi Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus a pure voice recognition system that proved intuitive and correct to make use of for us.

MY23 Astras will function the Pure Panel Pro set-up, which gives a pair of flush-fitting 12-inch screens; the usual set-up does not have a look at all unhealthy till you see and expertise the Pro pack, which can be commonplace on GS Line trim from subsequent yr.

Whichever system you get, fortunately Vauxhall has retained bodily local weather controls which are simple to make use of on the transfer, the ledge their mounted on appearing as a great anchor level on your hand to function the display.

It’s clear from the inside and exterior design that Vauxhall goes after the Volkswagen Golf, and there are some good supplies inside, together with soft-touch plastics and a few sensible leather-based inserts on the doorways. However, some vital areas of cheaper plastic are apparent increased up, comparable to on the doorways, which simply lets the picture down just a little.

It’s a disgrace, as a result of the Astra is a hanging automobile from the skin, with the Vizor grille and horizontal LED headlights accentuating its width, together with chunky wheel arches, particularly on the rear.

The tail-lights and the Astra’s easy, solid-looking surfaces – in addition to a number of the key physique work creases, notably on the boot lid with its VW-style push-to-open badge – are paying homage to Volkswagen and Skoda fashions. We imply that as a praise.

That sharply styled tailgate reveals a 422-litre boot, which is an effective dimension for the category, though rear packaging is not the best and we would like just a little extra legroom. Head room is ok although, and there is loads of storage contained in the cabin, with a giant lidded cubby between the entrance seats, cup-holders, two trays with sliding covers, and a neat fold-out compartment under the local weather controls for telephones or sun shades.

Other aggressive numbers the Astra gives embody claimed effectivity of 51.3mpg and 124g/km of CO2, however the headline worth of £27,210 for this hottest mid-spec mannequin can be necessary.

Compared with a mid-spec Golf with an equivalent quantity of energy, it is round £500 cheaper – and Vauxhall will throw in one other £500 low cost with a web based order for the time being, plus a £750 deposit contribution should you purchase on finance.

For that you simply get a great deal of package, together with the Pure Panel set-up (quickly to be Pro for no further money), LED headlights, adaptive cruise management, the most recent smartphone connectivity tech, dual-zone local weather management, heated seats, a 360-degree parking digital camera, full keyless go, sportier appears to be like and loads of driver help and security tech, with AEB with pedestrian detection and collision alert, lane departure warning and lane preserve help, plus site visitors signal recognition.

Model: Vauxhall Astra 1.2 Turbo 130 GS Line
Price:  £27,210
Engine:  1.2-litre 3cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque:  128bhp/230Nm
Transmission:  Six-speed guide, front-wheel drive
0-62mph:  9.7 seconds
Top velocity:  130mph
Economy/CO2:  51.3mpg/124g/km
On sale:  Now

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