Vauxhall Astra VXR: Test Drive Review
04 September 2012
Not to be outdone by arch rival Ford's new hot hatch - the Focus ST - Vauxhall has released its most powerful take on the current Astra yet, the VXR. It shares its basic body with the attractive three-door GTC model, but adds a dose of exterior aggression in the form of swelled wheelarches, a hefty boot spoiler and a honeycomb mesh-clad front bumper among other extremities.
It has the substance to back up the looks too, courtesy of a 280hp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine capable of propelling the Astra VXR from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds and on to 155mph. It is blisteringly quick by any standards, let alone those of a lower medium hatchback. It also handles and grips as well as cars with P11D prices three times higher, so it's hardly bad value for money considering the available performance.
The VXR is as practical as any other three-door Astra too and, though it is noticeably firmer, the ride is relatively forgiving as hot hatchbacks go. The downside, predictably, is running costs. An official figure of 34.9mpg isn't too bad for such a powerful car, while 189g/km isn't the last word in cleanliness, so you're looking at a steep CPM figure of 74.8 pence per mile.
Verdict: A great halo product for Vauxhall, it's outrageously powerful, a riot to drive and actually good value. It's thirsty and makes little sense as a business vehicle, though.