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Vauxhall Astra estate: Test Drive Report

Date: 01 November 2010   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £18,610
Key rival: Ford Focus Estate

Vauxhall is hoping the new Astra Sports Tourer will be less of an utilitarian workhorse, like its predecessor was, and appeal to a broader range of people as a "stylish" option.

At the moment, 90% of estate volume goes to fleet operators, but with this new model Vauxhall expects a higher proportion of retail sales, so the business share of registrations should fall to around 65%. The estate has sold around 7000 units annually; the carmaker hopes to build on this but wouldn't quote figures.

Aside from looks, which are a vast improvement on the outgoing car, boot space is up 30 litres to 500 with the rear seats in place. It's one of the roomiest in its class, topping the Ford Focus Estate and Renault Megane Sports Tourer at 482 and 491 litres respectively, but falling just below the VW Golf Estate's load capacity of 505 litres.

The other major factor for fleets to consider is, as always, CO2 emissions. Wearing Vauxhall's Ecoflex green badge, the top-selling fleet model, a 1.7 CDTi 108hp Ecoflex, emits 119g/km. That's okay for the time being, falling into the lowest BIK tax band at 13%, but only until the BIK changes coming in 18 months time. It also doesn't look impressive against rival options - while the equivalent models (as seen below) have similar emissions and power figures, if you opt for their green-badge siblings, you'd find emissions of 109g/km for the Golf Bluemotion and 104g/km for the lower-powered 88hp Ford Focus Econetic. There is, however, a start/stop Ecoflex 93hp 1.3-litre diesel version emitting 109g/km due in January.

The car is a comfortable drive. There's good ride quality, with the suspension absorbing bumpy roads, balanced if slightly light steering, an excellent gearbox and a quality interior finish. Vauxhall has removed the traditional handbrake and replaced it with a small electric one that creates much more space in the central console. The busy control panel is still slightly confusing but the large infotainment screen is a pleasure to use and will be popular with buyers.

Whole-life costs are above its volume-selling rivals, the Focus estate and Golf estate. The latter tops the game, at 42.3ppm, partly due to its stronger RVs at 33% against the Focus's 26% and the Astra's 27%. The Renault Megane Sport Tourer is most expensive, at 48.3ppm, with weaker RVs although the there's no lower trim level with the equivalent engine to the Astra. So, as ever, VW's offering comes out on top. But the new Astra tourer is an excellent all-round improvement on its predecessor and should definitely be on the 'to consider' list.

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
1.7 CDTi 110 Ecoflex ES 5dr
P11D price£18,610
Model price range£16,575-£24,300
Fuel consumption62.8mpg
CO2 (tax) 119g/km/(13%)
BIK 20/40%
per month
Service interval20,000mls
Insurancegroup 13
Boot space
500/1550 litres
Engine size/power1686cc/108hp
Top speed/0-62mph113mph/13.0secs
On sale November 2010
VerdictGood all-rounder definitely
further up the lower-medium
estate sector than predecessor


Good all-rounder definitely further up the lower-medium estate sector than predecessor