Vauxhall Astra GSe Review & Prices
The Vauxhall Astra GSe is the sportiest version of this family hatchback and comes with an efficient plug-in hybrid setup, but it’s not particularly exciting to drive
Find out more about the Vauxhall Astra GSe
The Astra GSe is like when Doctor Who was rebooted in 2005 – there’s some familiarity to versions of old, but it’s got some new features to keep it fresh. Alternatives include the Volkswagen Golf GTE, Peugeot 308 Hybrid 225, Skoda Octavia vRS iV and Cupra Leon.
The look of the GSe is not very different to the standard Astra. But what you do get is a lot of black trim, new bumpers at the front and back, 18-inch alloy wheels with a two-tone finish and yellow GSe badging – not a big change but enough.
There are a few more differences in the cabin. You get a lot more Alcantara on the seats and in the doors than on other Astra trims, while there’s a fair amount of gloss black, so it’s quite a dark cabin on the whole. There are also performance seats that hold you slightly better and get electric adjustment so you can get in the right position.
With similar equipment to the rest of the Astra line-up though, you get two 10.0-inch screens for the infotainment, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, keyless entry and start, wireless smartphone connection and a series of safety systems.
Where the GSe lacks is in interior space. Just like the standard Astra, the rear seats are a bit tight for adults to sit, while fitting a child seat can be a bit tricky with the anchor points deep in the seat back.
Boot space is the same as the standard plug-in hybrid Astra. You get 352 litres, which is much better than the Volkswagen Golf GTE but on par with the Peugeot 308 Hybrid 225. The Skoda Octavia vRS iV is still the king of this segment though.
It doesn’t quite evoke the same emotions as classic GSi models, but the Astra GSe is a competent warm hatchback that’s as practical as the standard car
The GSe is fitted with a 1.6-litre petrol engine – which doesn’t sound that great – that’s teamed to an electric motor, which is powered by a 12.4kWh battery pack. That allows for 225hp, while the electric range is up to 40 miles.
With that additional electric power, you do get a fair amount of punch when you accelerate, with the GSe taking 7.5 seconds to get from 0-60mph.
In town, the electric motor helps you cruise around in near silence, while the steering is light allowing for easy manoeuvring and navigation. The uprated suspension setup the GSe receives does mean there’s a little bit of firmness at times, but it’s comfortable enough for most.
When you’re on a motorway the GSe settles down nicely, with the adaptive cruise control allowing for easy progress. You do get some exterior flutter, but it’s not enough for you to be disturbed too much.
With the sportier setup, driving on a twisty road can be quite fun. Putting the GSe in ‘Sport’ mode does improve responsiveness from the engine, while the steering is well-weighted for good turn-in. The upgraded suspension soaks up bumps well too and it feels planted on most surfaces in the UK.
While it may not look like a large upgrade between the standard Astra and the GSe, there are some sporty touches that make the Astra GSe better to drive quickly, while being just as practical and drivable on a daily basis.
If you want to get the best deals on the Vauxhall Astra GSe, you can do that through carwow, where you can also find used deals on it too. You can look into used offers on other Vauxhall models, and if you want to sell your car the easy way, use carwow, where our trusted dealers will get you the best price.
The Vauxhall Astra GSe has a RRP range of £41,800 to £41,800. However, with carwow you can save on average £2,042. Prices start at £39,758 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £588. The price of a used Vauxhall Astra GSe on carwow starts at £31,911.
Our most popular versions of the Vauxhall Astra GSe are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|1.6 Plug-in Hybrid GSe 5dr Auto||£39,758||Compare offers|
While the Volkswagen Golf GTE feels more premium, the Vauxhall Astra GSe is a touch more expensive. The Golf does have more power, but the electric range is less. Skoda’s Octavia vRS iV is much cheaper as well, while using the same setup as the Golf.
The equivalent Peugeot 308 is also a little cheaper than the Astra GSe. But that car has more divisive styling inside and out, while the electric range is less – even though both the Peugeot and Vauxhall are built on the same platform.
There’s familiarity to the standard Astra, so it’s easy to drive around town and the GSe is better to drive quickly. The sportier suspension can be firm in places though
Where the standard Astra performs well is in town, the GSe takes a lot of that on as well. The 10.5-metre turning circle is the same as the standard car and is better than the VW Golf GTE’s 10.9 metres.
The steering is as light as the normal Astra too, so you can make manoeuvres a lot easier than you might expect with a sportier version. Where there are some issues is with rear visibility, as the rear pillars either side of the window are quite bulky. The rest of the car is easy to see out of, though.
Having the electric motor means you can make smooth and quiet progress around town, as you get up to 40 miles when it’s fully charged with this hatchback version. The electric motor is pretty punchy, so you can make quick getaways from junctions and traffic lights, with the petrol engine only getting involved if you push too hard or run out of charge.
With Vauxhall fitting a new suspension setup from Koni and lowering the ride height by 10mm, you do notice more bumps than in the standard Astra. It’s not uncomfortable, but you do feel smaller bumps more often.
On the motorway
With the mixture of petrol and electric power, the Astra GSe is more than comfortable enough for most on the motorway. There’s not a lot of exterior noise coming into the cabin, but you’ll notice some wind flutter and road noise.
Having the electric motor to give you the initial boost of acceleration, the petrol engine joins in to get you up to the speed limit. It’s fairly swift and gets you around traffic, but it’s not hot hatchback-fast.
The GSe gets adaptive cruise control as standard, and that means you can settle down on longer drives by keeping a safe distance from the car in front, which you can alter. The GSe will also come to a stop in traffic and set off again.
Putting the car in its Eco mode will help with fuel efficiency, while the e-Save function lets you hold some electric charge back if you know you’re going to need it later.
On a twisty road
By including a lot of sporty upgrades, the GSe is more fun to drive on a twisty road than the standard Astra.
The Koni suspension components and lowered ride height mean the GSe feels more dynamic and better at controlling its weight – even though it didn’t suffer from much body roll anyway.
The lighter-weighted steering still performs well and when you put it into Sport mode, the added weight to the steering does give you a better feeling of turning into the corners.
Having said that, this is by no means a B-road monster. But if you want some extra enjoyment from your family hatchback, the Astra GSe does offer that.
With the electric motor helping out, you get good drive out of corners. But as all the power is delivered to the front wheels, you don’t get as much grip as if there was all-wheel drive. The engine isn’t that exciting either for a sporty model, with it sounding more gruff than we would like.
Boot space is excellent compared to most alternatives, but rear passenger space remains an issue
The Astra is a practical car, and Vauxhall hasn’t had to compromise that when making this GSe.
That means you get good levels of storage around you, including two cupholders, a small bin under the central touchscreen where the wireless charging pad for your smartphone is, and a decent space under the central armrest – which has a useful split opening. The doorbins are also a good size.
You’ll find there is plenty of adjustment in the driving position, while the reach and angle alteration for the steering column makes it very easy for you to get comfortable. The front passenger will have no issue getting in place either.
Space in the back seats
Where the Astra struggles is with rear passenger space. The GSe suffers the same fate, as you don’t have as much legroom as you’ll find in cars like the VW Golf GTE or especially the Skoda Octavia vRS iV.
Headroom is okay though, with adults able to get more than comfortable in that respect. It’s pretty easy to get a child seat through the door as the opening is large, but the ISOFIX points do take some stabbing around to find so you can fix the seat in place.
Storage options are fairly good, with decent-sized doorbins, useful pockets on the seat backs and cupholders in the central armrest, while there’s through-loading to hold longer items if they don’t fit in the boot.
The 352-litre boot of the GSe is the same as the standard Astra and it’s better than most of the alternatives. The VW Golf GTE has just 272 litres, while the Peugeot 308 225 Hybrid is slightly better at 361 litres and the Cupra Leon has a touch more with 380 litres.
Even with the extra hybrid powertrain components in the back, the Skoda Octavia vRS iV’s boot is bigger at 490 litres.
You get a useful boot in the Astra GSe though, with a square shape and low load lip helping you get things in and out. There’s no underfloor storage with the extra batteries for the hybrid system, but with split rear seats giving you up to 1,268 litres, there’s still more than enough space to fill if you need it.
Although there are some sporty elements to the GSe’s cabin, it’s not the most exciting place to be
We don’t have a lot of complaints about the cabin of the GSe, as Vauxhall has given the Astra a tidy design. But what you’d expect from a sportier version is a bit more colour and the GSe doesn’t have that. There’s some ambient lighting to help, but with the yellow GSe badging, we would have liked some of that in the cabin.
There’s also a fair amount of gloss black surfaces, such as in the centre console and around the screens, which can get smudged and scratch easily. There’s also a lot of Alcantara on the performance seats and on the door cards, which do add a sporty element to the cabin.
Vauxhall has streamlined the cabin layout so there are limited buttons in the centre console. You’ll only see the gear selector, drive modes and parking brake in the middle, while there are some shortcut buttons to the infotainment and climate buttons under the touchscreen.
To get more in-depth with the climate controls though, you will need to use the touchscreen that can be glitchy to use and a bit slow. That continues across the rest of the functions, with the infotainment not being that great.
But to help you keep your eyes on the road, the GSe gets a head-up display. You can alter what appears on there so you have the information important to you.
Options are limited to just a towing hook, a faster 7.4kW on-board charger for the electric drive system and changing the black roof to body colour.
Only offered with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol plug-in hybrid, the Astra GSe has 225hp and 360Nm of torque. Paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, all the power is sent to the front wheels.
With the help of that electrical assistance, the Astra GSe can do 256mpg on the WLTP cycle, with emissions of 25-26g/km CO2. Realistically though, if you don’t charge the 12.4kWh battery up regularly, you won’t get the full benefit of the electric power and efficiency will be at around 50mpg – not bad, but nowhere near as good as promised.
You can get up to 40 miles on electric power alone, which is useful cruising around town and can help you reduce your fuel bill if you charge it regularly enough. You can top up the battery on a 3.7kW current as standard, with a full charge taking three and half hours. If you need speedier charging, you can upgrade to 7.4kW charging, which will allow for a full charge in under two hours.
As it has low emissions, the Astra GSe is in the lowest paying bracket for vehicle excise duty. However, as it starts from more than £40,000, you will need to pay an additional fee on top of that tax rate from the second to sixth year of ownership. Being a plug-in hybrid though, the company car tax rate is very affordable because of its low emission levels.
The Astra scored four stars on the Euro NCAP safety tests – a star less than its alternatives. It didn’t perform well in the vulnerable road user (pedestrians and cyclists) and safety assists categories, where contemporaries like the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf were much better.
With the Astra GSe, Vauxhall has fitted it with its full suite of PureSense safety systems, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver attention assist, lane change assist with blind spot alert and rear cross traffic alert. You also get adaptive matrix LED headlights, semi-autonomous lane changing and intelligent speed adaptation.
As with the Astra, the GSe gets airbags throughout, ISOFIX points on the outer rear seats and an alarm system as standard.
In recent years, Vauxhall has been upping its game in terms of reliability – after having a reputation for building cars that have issues on a regular basis. The Astra is leading the line for that, and since its release in 2022 only three minor recalls have been announced.
As standard with Vauxhall cars, the Astra GSe gets a three-year warranty. Mileage in the first year is unlimited, but the warranty period will end if you reach 60,000 miles before the end of the third year of ownership.
The battery pack for the hybrid system also has protection. It gets an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty or if it drops to 70% of its original capacity on a full charge.
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