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Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Test Drive Review

Date: 21 March 2016   |   Author:

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £23,330
Key rival: Ford Focus Estate
On sale: March 2016
Equipment: 17in alloys, satnav, auto lights and wipers, aircon, cruise control, Onstar, sports front seats, lane assist, forward distance indicator, forward camera alert
Engines: Petrol: 105hp 1.0, 100hp/ 125hp/150hp 1.4, 115hp/200hp 1.6; Diesel: 110hp/136hp/160hp 1.6
Trims: Design, Tech Line, SRi, Elite
Transmissions: 5-/6-spd manual, 5-/6-spd auto

With four-fifths of Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer volume heading for the fleet sector, the role of the new estate is clear in that it's very much, and unashamedly, aimed at job-need customers.

Estate cars only make up 12% of all lower medium sales - with the Skoda Octavia and Ford Focus the only cars above the Astra Sports Tourer in volume terms - and Vauxhall has declared that it sees the new Astra as an opportunity to boost its presence in the class.

It's off to a good start because the new car is a leap forward compared with the previous one, and BusinessCar has already declared itself impressed with the advances in emissions, technology, driving enjoyment and particularly interior quality and functionality.

However, all the aforementioned estates are judged by what goes on at the rear, and the new Astra gets another 40 litres of boot space over its predecessor, taking it to 545 litres, still  behind the likes of the Octavia, Peugeot 308 SW and Seat Leon ST, but 64 litres up on the Ford Focus Estate. The cargo area itself is a good square shape with no intrusions eating into luggage space.

There is, though, a lot of wasted space under the boot floor - where the spare wheel isn't present, but doesn't seem to have been replaced with anything useful - while there's also a lack of clever, movable boot floor or other innovation. This is, though, the first time the Astra will come with the option of a powered tailgate.

The exterior dimensions are broadly the same as the previous model, but Vauxhall claims to have liberated more space inside courtesy of cleverer packaging. There is 26mm more headroom for the driver and 38mm more for rear passengers, who also get 28mm of increased legroom in what is a rear row comfortable enough for larger adults.

To look at, the Astra Sports Tourer isn't exactly inspiring, but it's inoffensive enough in a sector where practicality trumps style. The top swathe of bodywork running across the rear pillar is designed to give the car an almost coupe-like look, although to some eyes it's a touch clunky.

The other new element arriving with the estate is a 160hp bi-turbo diesel engine, offering a welcome power increase on the 136hp version, but emissions are 8g/km and two BIK bands higher at 112g/km. That's above  the car's main rivals, which range between 102-110g/km - although that's for cars that are 10hp less powerful. Vauxhall claims to have had a degree of success with customers going for higher-powered diesels in the previous generation of Astra, so is expecting that to continue.

As far as running costs are concerned, the Astra sits fairly centrally, keenly priced but with efficiency behind its key rivals, and a residual value a touch down on the Focus, Golf and Seat Leon. The Skoda Octavia matches the Astra for running costs but offers a much larger boot.

The new Astra Sports Tourer is, like the hatchback, a big improvement over its predecessor, and a car that inserts itself into the upper-middle of a highly competent pack of lower medium fleet-focused estates.

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.6 CDTi 160 BiTurbo SRi Nav

Model price range £16,585-£24,810
Residual value 31.3%
Depreciation £16,030
Fuel £4100
Service, maintenance and repair £1763
Vehicle Excise Duty £60
National Insurance £2125
Cost per mile 50.3p
Fuel consumption 67.3mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 112g/km (20%)
BIK 20/40% per month £78/£156
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 540/1630 litres
Engine size/power 1598cc/160hp


Vast improvement over previous estate, and bi-turbo engine is a nice addition to the Astra range
  • A very competitive P11D and decent RVs put the Astra in a good, if not class-leading, whole-life cost position
  • Emissions for the new bi-turbo, which is more powerful than rivals, could do with being a bit lower