Our Fleet Test Drive: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer - 1st report
02 September 2011
Author: Hugh Hunston
 Function loses out to form to the extent of 10 litres less rear stowage space than before
Our vivid Power Red Astra estate has arrived on a mission fresh from the Vauxhall production line.
The highly specified £22,730 SRi estate, complete with extra kit worth another £1940, appears committed to proving that lower medium wagons have a wider corporate appeal beyond being the default utilitarian choice for photocopier repair technicians.
Markedly more stylish than its boxy predecessor, the sleeker new Sports Tourer carries over many styling elements from the Insignia. As a result, function loses out to form to the extent of 10 litres less rear stowage space than before (it now stands at 500 litres) with the seats up . With them folded and the rear seat cushion removed it absorbs 1550 litres of business-related stuff, loaded to the ceiling.
If the wagon's external looks are enhanced the interior moves up a class or two in terms of materials and general ergonomics , banishing memories of the low-rent feel, finish and look of what went before. It's now tactile, not tacky.
The decent SRi equipment on our 125hp 1.7-litre Ecoflex diesel-version is supplemented by options including satnav (worth £835), sight and light pack including automatic wipers and lights (£230), Bluetooth mobile phone system (£215) and fore and aft parking sensors £395 .
Although stop-start technology is not included, the scarlet estate boasts a theoretical official 62.8mpg capability and a tax-friendly 119g/km CO2 figure. Prior to our own checks the computer claimed an initial 46mpg over 300 miles.
As for our first impressions, the lowered and uprated SRi suspension generates a firm but supple ride, and the estate car, sitting on standard 17-inch alloy wheels, feels more composed and responsive than its hatchback equivalent. The engine has a gruff exhaust note when pressed, complemented by an old-fashioned turbo boost whistle.
So far we like the quick-release finger tip luggage compartment cover and dislike having difficulty seeing or feeling which setting is selected on the bevelled rotary light switch.
|Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.7 CDTi SRi|
|Our average |
|Actual CPM||56.4p |
|Why we’re running it||To see if the latest |
Astra wagon can shake off
its predecessors’ stigma of
being a utilitarian workhorse.
|Positive||Good looks and |
much upgraded cabin
|Negative||Fiddly light switch, |
no spare wheel