Astra vs Astra

Vauxhall Astra VXR vs Vauxhall Astra GTE

Motoring trends come and go, but hot hatches have always tugged at the heart strings – even when spiralling insurance and a recession forced many makers to axe their offerings in the mid-Nineties. When they returned in greater numbers a few years later, our obsession with all things fast and front-wheel drive grew.

Few manufacturers were as prolific in this market sector as Vauxhall. With its 156bhp engine, futuristic styling and rally heritage, the 1990 Astra GTE was just about the coolest, fastest and most desirable hot hatch then. It even had a performance and price advantage over VW’s Golf GTI.

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and not much has changed. The GTE badge has given way to VXR, but the Astra remains the edgy choice. What sets the new car apart is its 237bhp 2.0-litre turbo, which makes it one of the most powerful front-drive hatches on sale. The GTE’s 2.0-litre develops 156bhp – only 5bhp more than a current Astra 1.9 diesel. Still, these cars are clearly cut from the same cloth. The GTE compensates for its power shortfall with a lighter body and great reactions. While the VXR is quicker, crash test features and creature comforts make it feel heavier.

Without the GTE, the VXR wouldn’t be the car it is today. Sure, there’s a massive performance gap – but when it comes to raw thrills, that gap is far narrower.

Facts and figures

Vauxhall Astra VXR vs Vauxhall Astra GTE

Price new: £19,575 / (1992) £7,344Engine: 1,998cc / 1,998ccTransmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive / Five-speed manual, front-wheel drivePower: 237bhp / 156bhpLength/width/height: 4,290/1,753/1,415mm / 4,000/1,660/1,400mm

Most Popular

Best electric cars to buy 2021
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2021

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
7 Jul 2021
New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900
Audi RS 3 Sportback - front
Audi RS3

New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900

Full exterior and interior reveal for Audi RS 3, with aggressive styling and racy cabin to match strong performance
19 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021