Vauxhall Astra Review & Prices

The Vauxhall Astra is a good family hatchback that has a great boot and looks snazzy. It’s not got the most spacious rear seats though

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RRP £23,315 - £41,050 Avg. Carwow saving £5,080 off RRP
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Cash
£22,681
Monthly
£231*
Used
£16,495
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7/10
Reviewed by Jack Healy after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Great styling
  • Large and practical boot
  • Balanced setup

What's not so good

  • Short on rear passenger space
  • Automatic ‘box can be jumpy
  • Not the most fun to drive

Find out more about the Vauxhall Astra

Is the Vauxhall Astra a good car?

If you’re after a practical and good-looking family hatchback, then the Vauxhall Astra might well be worth a look in. It’s been around for nearly 40 years now, but this latest one has plenty to help it take the fight to alternatives such as the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic.

It’s the most stylish and futuristic incarnation of the Astra yet, but has all the ingredients that make it a practical model. It’s like your daily laptop bag, not always the most exciting thing you might take with you when you leave the house, but it’s always there to carry what you need. 

Incorporating Vauxhall’s current ‘Vizor’ design language, the face is squarer and sharper – making it one of the best-looking hatchbacks around. That sharpness continues down the side, before reaching a rear-end that has sleek rear lights and ‘Astra’ written across the back. It’s all very tidy looking.

So it’s a bit of a pity that the interior isn’t quite as dashing. It’s not untidy though as you get a sleek panel housing the two displays and plenty of straight lines to keep it feeling simple and easy to navigate. The infotainment system isn’t particularly user-friendly though, but it’s smooth enough and supports smartphone projection. 

Hatchback Group Test: Ford Focus vs Honda Civic vs Vauxhall Astra vs Volkswagen Golf

The Astra also isn’t the most spacious in the rear. Most people will be able to get comfortable enough, but the likes of the Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon offer more room. Headroom is a little tight for taller people, while foot space is just about okay for three people.

Boot space for the Astra though is only trumped by the ever-spacious Octavia, which has 600 litres on offer. The 422 litres in the Astra is excellent compared to other alternatives, and its square shape and small load lip makes it very easy to pile in heavy, bulky items and then get them back out again. The likes of the VW Golf (381 litres) and Ford Focus (375 litres) don't match up to the Astra's offering.

You can get the Astra with a regular petrol or diesel engine, or as a plug-in hybrid. Only the 110hp and 130hp petrol engines are offered with a six-speed manual gearbox, otherwise you get an eight-speed automatic, which can be a bit jerky at times.

Much like the interior, the Astra’s driving experience isn’t the most exciting, but it’s pretty competent. It’s by no means as zippy or fun to drive as a Ford Focus, but it steers nicely and is very easy to place on the road.

The GS Line is fitted with a handsome level of kit, and with the 130hp petrol automatic, it should be a reliable family hatchback

The slightly clunky automatic transmission means stop-start traffic is a bit of a pain to deal with, but on the whole, it cruises around town nicely. If you go for the hybrid and have enough charge, the electric mode is particularly useful and you can go up to 43 miles on battery power alone. Light steering helps all models to be manoeuvrable too. 

Out on the motorway and the Astra is comfy and easy to use, especially with adaptive cruise control from the mid-level GS Line as standard – even on manual models. It’s got improved soundproofing to help with exterior noise and it does okay in that department. It’s relaxing enough on the whole. 

This Astra is the best one yet, and although it may not be the best in any area, it’s still a family hatchback that should make your shortlist before final considerations are made. 

If you like the look of the new Vauxhall Astra or any other model, why not check it out on carwow? You’ll be able to find the latest deals and you could save a lot of money. You can also look through used Vauxhall models to get a bargain there, and you can sell your car too, and we can help you change your car.

How much is the Vauxhall Astra?

The Vauxhall Astra has a RRP range of £23,315 to £41,050. However, with Carwow you can save on average £5,080. Prices start at £22,681 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £231. The price of a used Vauxhall Astra on Carwow starts at £16,495.

Our most popular versions of the Vauxhall Astra are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.2 Turbo Design 5dr £22,681 Compare offers

Compared to its closest competitors, and the Astra is pretty good value for money. You'll find that only the Seat Leon and Skoda Octavia undercut the Vauxhall on starting price - both aren't as well-equipped at the entry level - and is on a similar level to the Volkswagen Golf.

Between manual and automatic versions, there's a jump of around £2,000, while trim upgrades are just under £3,000. But if you need the plug-in hybrid, be warned that it costs over £6,500 more than the diesel on the same trim, and more than £7,500 extra over the top petrol engine.

Performance and drive comfort

Set up with comfort in mind, the Astra isn’t the most exciting car around but is a very capable cruiser

In town

The Astra has decent engine performance when driving at low speeds, such as around town centres. The higher-powered 130hp petrol engine and the diesel pull away nicely, the latter even more so. Therefore, they are suitable for doing a lot of stop-start driving in heavy traffic.

There is a lot of adjustment in the steering wheel and driver’s seat, so finding a comfortable driving position is simple, while there’s decent visibility from all angles. In addition, the Astra has relatively large door mirrors, which helps to minimise blind spots.

The Vauxhall Astra’s ride comfort is good at laid-back speeds, helped by the seats that cushion you from the bumps and potholes in the road surface. Sticking with smaller wheels adds to the refinement, but higher-spec models with larger wheels are far from uncomfortable, either.

The steering is light and responsive enough, making for a relaxing journey and effortless parking.

Both the manual and automatic transmissions are up to the job, although the smooth automatic makes driving a bit easier if you're going to be changing gear a lot. The manual is versatile, though, and pulls away well even if you’re in a gear higher than you’d ordinarily be.

On the motorway

The new Astra is suitable for driving at higher speeds, too. The steering isn’t an issue on faster, straighter roads, while the ride is soft enough to keep you feeling chilled but firm enough to prevent it from wallowing and bouncing around. In other words, it’s all very comfy.

The soundproofing is good, but the hybrid variant is the best option if you want blissfully quiet journeys. It provides a civilised level of performance at all speeds, although it’s more expensive. If you’re going to be doing a load of motorway driving, it's worth carrying out further research to see if the savings on road tax and fuel outweigh the higher asking price.

Cruise control is included as standard on all models to keep you at a consistent speed. Lane departure warning and lane-keep assist, which will help ensure you don’t drift into another lane, are also built-in.

On a twisty road

The Astra’s comfortable ride and stiffened suspension are a very agreeable blend, which means it's pretty agile in the bends and handles well. It doesn't lean too much, either, when you take a corner at speed.

The car provides an enjoyable driving experience, although the steering is too light to make the most out of the handling. The hybrid has a Sport mode which will make the steering weightier and more suited to thrill-seekers, but it’s also quite a bit heavier, which offsets any benefits.

Space and practicality

With a large boot and plenty of storage spots, the Astra is only let down by a lack of space for passengers in the back

You get a lot of storage space in the Astra, with a generous cubby in the centre console and two larger cupholders by the gear lever. There is also an area for the wireless charge pad up front in the top-of-the-range models.

It is relatively easy to find what’s what in the cabin, too. This is because most of the unnecessary buttons have been hidden in the infotainment system, leaving it reasonably uncluttered.

There is a considerate amount of room up front, so if you’re tall, you won’t find yourself struggling for space. Headroom is plentiful, too, so you don't feel overly hemmed in or claustrophobic. Even if you're muscular, you shouldn't need to worry about playing elbow tennis with the doors - or the person sitting next to you, for that matter.

Space in the back seats

The rear seat space is arguably the only area where the new Astra has gone backwards compared with its predecessor.

You will find you won't struggle for headroom if you're tall, but your long legs will make for an uncomfortable journey due to the Astra’s limited legroom. As a result, it's challenging to angle your limbs so that your feet fit underneath the front seats.

Combine the above with a tall driver, and you might find you don’t fit at all. Alternatives such as the Seat Leon offer more space in the rear.

Nevertheless, this shouldn't be much of an issue for families with younger children. And, after opening the rear doors, there's still plenty of room to easily fit baby carriers or child seats to keep your toddlers safe.

In terms of back-seat storage, GS Line models and above offer a fold-out armrest with cupholders if the middle seat isn't occupied. There are also some smaller door bins and storage nets on the rear of the driver and passenger seats to place smaller objects.

Boot space

While the Astra lacks rear-seat room, it more than makes up for it with the size of the boot. But, of course, the lack of the former means more of the latter, so 422 litres is enough to laud it over its closest competitors.

There is a boot lip, but it’s not all that big, so lifting pushchairs or shopping bags over it to put stuff in, or take things out, shouldn't be an issue.

The rear seats will collapse in a 60/40 split if you need more room. One of the outer rear seats folds down individually, while the other two seats fold down in one unit. This expands the available space to 1,389 litres. What’s more, if you have a GS Line model or above with the fold-out armrest, this can be fully opened out as a 'ski hatch'. Therefore, you can thread longer, thin items, such as a curtain poles or planks of wood, through the boot into the cabin.

The hybridised Astra stores its batteries underneath the boot, so standard cargo capacity is reduced to 352 litres with the rear seats in place. But even this means it’s still only just worse off than the likes of the Volkswagen Golf.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

Compared to alternatives, the Vauxhall Astra cabin is well-appointed and equipped. But it can feel a bit dark

The Astra's interior is neat and clean. It isn't on a par with luxury brands, but it more than holds its own against Ford and Volkswagen.

While there are buttons below the infotainment screen and on the steering wheel, the less important ones are now buried into the infotainment system, which helps declutter the interior.

There are lots of premium-feel, soft-touch surfaces. The steering wheel itself looks funky, while the range of colours on the inside is attractive if a little on the dark side. Mind you; this is broken up with some silver materials in places. Some glossy piano black décor makes the centre console stand out, too. Meanwhile, the infotainment screen is housed in a single unit next to the same-sized digital display, giving the cabin a futuristic appearance.

The dashboard curves around to face the driver, which is helpful and adds to the cockpit-like feel. If you’re a wannabe fighter pilot, you’ll love it. And if you’re not, then you’ll nevertheless appreciate the convenience and informative displays.

The Astra's infotainment screen can be used to adjust all manner of things. It is exclusively touchscreen, so there's no rotary dial by the gear lever like you get on some cars, but the screen is responsive, clear, and well laid out, making it easy to use.

You can change radio stations, make phone calls, adjust air conditioning (including the direction of airflow), set up the navigation and view the energy consumption figures (beneficial on the hybrid). Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity comes as standard with smartphone mirroring, too. 

The system also boasts voice recognition for hands-free driving, meaning you can speak normally to it, and it'll know what to do. For example, you can tell it you're cold, and it'll turn the heater on. Of course, systems like these do have their limitations, but it works reasonably well.

MPG, emissions and tax

As you might expect, the plug-in hybrid version has the best economy and emission figures. It returns 256mpg and just 24g/km CO2, although don't expect to achieve anywhere near those economy figures when you're in the real world and can't find a consistent place to charge the battery pack, which can deliver up to 42 miles of charge (40 miles on the more powerful GSe version).

Whichever non-electrified engine you go for, you can expect decent returns on fuel economy. The best of the bunch is the 1.5-litre diesel unit, returning up to 58.9mpg, but the petrol versions aren't too far behind. All of those can return over 50mpg at best, with the lowest-powered 1.2-litre version with 110hp offering 52.3mpg.

That unit also returns the best emissions figure of 123g/km CO2, but even the diesel engine produces 132g/km CO2. None of the options then are particularly different on the whole.

In the first year, the petrol engines with the manual gearbox are reasonable, while both automatic versions are in a slightly higher bracket. With its low emissions, the plug-in hybrid in GSe spec means no road tax payment is needed for the first year.

Only one version of the Astra breaches the £40,000 list price, which incurs a significant penalty compared to the other Astra versions. The plug-in hybrid version will be on a lower annual tax rate compared to the petrol and diesel cars thanks to the electrification element.

Safety and security

This latest version of the Astra comes with a four-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, which lags behind the majority of its closest competitors. Models like the Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic, Skoda Octavia and Ford Focus all scored five stars, putting the Astra on the back foot here. It scored no more than 82% (Child Occupant), with Safety Assist scoring just 66%. These scores aren't terrible, just not up to the standard of alternatives.

Fitted on each Astra is automatic emergency braking, driver drowsiness alert, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, and speed sign recognition. Other versions feature adaptive cruise control, traffic sign assist and a 360-degree camera. Only the top-spec Ultimate comes with rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring, so may be worth considering if you want all the safety kit available to you.

All versions get a series of airbags throughout the car, including curtain and side impact ones, while those also have an ultrasonic alarm system and locking wheel bolts as standard.

Reliability and problems

Vauxhall has a reputation from previous years of not being built to a high standard. However, across recent surveys, the brand has started to go from bottom to mid-tier, which is a good sign with this latest version of the Astra.

With the Astra, you get a three-year warranty - the first year with unlimited mileage and the second and third year with a 60,000-mile cap. You also get 12 months of roadside assistance and a six-year body panel perforation warranty. Getting the PHEV means an eight-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty.

Vauxhall also offers its own care package that includes offers on parts, servicing, MOTs and AdBlue refills for diesel models.

Buy or lease the Vauxhall Astra at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £23,315 - £41,050 Avg. Carwow saving £5,080 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£22,681
Monthly
£231*
Used
£16,495
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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