Vauxhall Astra vs rivals
We pitch Vauxhall’s crucial new Astra against leading rivals in six key areas for hatch buyers. Read our new-look road test results...
Ask any athlete which disciplines demand the most talent, and they’ll tell you it’s the multi-sport events. Whether it’s in heptathlon or decathlon, the ability to turn your hand to a variety of skills is what marks out the very best.
All-round talent is equally essential in the family car arena. The Vauxhall Astra is the latest to take on the competition, and to see how it rates we’ve devised our very own automotive ‘hexathlon’. It will see the Luton firm’s new family hope put to the test across six gruelling disciplines.
Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Vauxhall Astra
To start off with, our team will take a critical look at styling. Then things begin to warm up – as our dynamic test sees the contenders go through a slalom and brake test, plus a timed hot lap.
There’s more to family life than outright handling, though, so the six models will be rated for comfort. The fourth challenge will see them filled with kit to put their load-carrying abilities under the microscope.
With the finishing line in sight, we will strap on the timing gear for our performance test, before picking up our calculators for the sprint to the line – as we look at costs. As well as ranking the models in each category, points will be awarded, with the overall winner being the car with the biggest total score.
If you were in any doubt as to the scale of the task facing the Astra, you only have to look at the quality of its rivals – there isn’t a bad car here.
We have to choose a winner, though, and that’s the Golf, due to its polished dynamics, comfortable interior and incredible value.
The big surprise is the model in second spot. We knew the Mazda 3 would be strong, but if only it was bigger and more practical it would rival the VW for class honours. The punchy Honda edges out the huge Skoda, while the Astra ties for fifth with the expensive Ford.
* 1ST (27 stars)VW Golf Top scores for dynamics and comfort pave the way for glory, but a strong showing across the board demonstrates VW’s depth of talent
* 2nd (24 stars)Mazda 3 With better comfort and practicality marks, the 3 would give the Golf a run for its money. Stylish hatch is great value and good to drive.
* 3rd (20 stars)Honda civic Despite below-par economy and poor refinement and comfort, Civic is still a practical and dynamic choice.
* 4th (19 stars)Skoda Octavia If you prioritise space, the Skoda takes some beating. It can easily hold its own in this company.
* 5th= (18 stars)Vauxhall Astra A strong performance against the class’s best. Price holds Astra back, but it’s frugal and comfortable.
* 5th= (18 stars)Ford focus Time hasn’t caught up with the Ford – its rising price has. Still great for dynamics and practicality, though.
In this review
- 1Introduction - currently readingWe pitch Vauxhall’s crucial new Astra against leading rivals in six key areas for hatch buyers. Read our new-look road test results...
- 2CostsWe do the sums to see which car is the best-value ownership proposition
- 3PerfromanceOutright pace is important, but so is economy. We rated both
- 4LuggageWhich is the most practical choice here? We load each car to the max to reveal all
- 5ComfortFor high-mileage family drivers, this is a key factor – so we rate cabin space and feel, plus ride quality
- 6DynamicsSlalom tests and our tight handling track push our contenders’ agility to the limit
- 7StylingBeauty is in the eye of the beholder – and we conduct a poll of our team to name the most attractive car here
- 8Facts and figures