New Vauxhall Astra on sale 10 | 11 | 2021

    VAUXHALL’S NEW ASTRA is now on-sale in the UK, and it comes with a new, exciting, sharper-edged look, plus plug-in hybrid tech. Prices for the Ford Focus and VW Golf rival start at £23,275. First deliveries of the eighth-generation hatchback are scheduled for early next year. (Related: updated insignia starts at £23,120)

    The famous ‘British’ badge now sits under the Franco-Italian umbrella of Stellantis, which also includes Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat. No surprise then that the new Astra shares its platform with the impressive new Peugeot 308.

    Buyers have the choice from three trim levels: Design, GS Line and Ultimate; that basically translates to either the basic one, the sporty one or the upmarket one. The entry-level design includes rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning, a push-button ignition, LED headlights and 16-inch alloys as standard.


    It certainly looks different

    There’s no denying that. I still think it might be something of a Marmite design — you either love it or hate it — but without question the sharp, futuristic lines of Vauxhall’s new Vizor design language will certainly turn heads. (Related: Electric Corsa-e to start at £26,490)

    There are also welcome changes inside the cabin, which now takes on a very upmarket look thanks to the increased use of shiny piano black plastic. It’s also impossible to miss the huge screens across the driver’s side of the dash.

    And for those who opt for the auto ’box rather than the manual six-speed, they can look forward to twiddling the funny little gear selector switch found in the Peugeot 308 and Citroen C4.


    What engines are available?

    There’s quite a choice, with the petrol engines focusing on the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder unit which is proving so popular across the Stellantis models. The entry-level is the 1.2 109bhp, but the engine is also available as a 128bhp version.  Both units get six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but the latter has the option of the automatic gearbox. Both are also capable, according to Vauxhall, or achieving up to 52.3mpg. (Related: Vauxhall Corsa-e gets 205-mile range)

    Elsewhere, for those who can’t shake off their diesel fix, there’s a 128bhp 1.5-litre oil burner. It does though return a claimed 64.3mpg on the WLTP cycle.


    In complete contrast, there’s also a 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid petrol. Delivering up to 178bhp, it also has the ability to reduce CO2 emissions to just 24g/km. And in addition to covering 0-62mph in 7.7secs, and carrying on to a max of 140mph, it’ll also let you cover up to 35 miles on electricity alone.

    Further down the line the range will be further supplemented by a 222bhp version of the plug-in hybrid, while a fully electric Astra is expected in 2023.


    Sounds good … what about spec?

    There’s actually quite a bit, even with the entry-level trim, as mentioned above. In addition to the rear parking sensors, 16in alloys etc already listed, the Design model gets a healthy-sized a 10-inch touchscreen and a digital instrument display. As you’d expect, there’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.


    Step up to the GS Line and you add adaptive cruise control, heated front seats and heated steering wheel, plus a 360-degree camera and 17in alloys. There’s also a few black exterior features, including the roof, badge and wheels.

    The range-topping Ultimate includes everything from the GS Line, and adds Alcantara seat trim, wireless phone charging, a head-up display, 18in alloys plus some extra safety tech.


    Finally, what’s it going to cost?

    The entry-level 109bhp 1.2-litre Design trim starts at £23,275, with the GS Line — which is most likely going to be the  most popular spec — opening at £26,170. And while the Ultimate costs from just over £29,000, you’ll need to pay £32,200 if you’d like a hybrid.

    Related: Toyota Aygo X gets new rugged look

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    Jim McGill


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