Vauxhall Astra review: Stylish family hatchback with an engine to suit everyone
Stylish looks, impressive technology, and a wide variety of engines make the Vauxhall Astra a convincingly good family hatchback
The eight-generation Vauxhall Astra has been transformed into a smart-looking family hatchback that delivers good practicality, strong infotainment and a decent drive. Efficient petrol engines provide excellent fuel economy, while the plug-in hybrid and all-electric models add a breadth of ability that might persuade business users into the sharp-suited Astra.
There are a few quibbles; interior quality could be a little better in places, and space in the rear seats is a little tighter than we’d like, but as an overall package, the Vauxhall Astra is a strong contender in the family hatchback class.
About the Vauxhall Astra
The Vauxhall Astra has had a bit of an image problem over recent years with bland styling, dull engines, and little flair to excite buyers looking for a capable family hatchback. However, with the manufacturer being acquired by the PSA Group in 2017 and subsequently becoming part of the larger Stellantis family, Vauxhall has been reinvigorated and given a new lease of life.
We first saw the new Griffin style approach with the launch of the second-generation Mokka small SUV in 2020. Its sharp styling introduced the ‘Vizor’ design as the face of all future Vauxhall models. The refreshed Crossland and Grandland SUVs followed this, and now it’s the Astra’s turn to benefit from a thorough reworking.
The previous Astra didn’t offer the perceived quality of the Volkswagen Golf, nor the driving dynamics of the Ford Focus, while rivals such as the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic were striking alternatives that made Vauxhall’s hatch look lacklustre in comparison. Now in its eighth iteration, the Astra features a smart, modern appearance, impressive on-board technology and all-important electrified powertrains to boost its green credentials.
Despite the rising trend in family SUVs, there are plenty of other five-door hatchbacks currently on sale to challenge the Astra. The VW Group’s SEAT Leon, Skoda Octavia, and aforementioned Golf are all reliable, practical options, while the talented Korean pair of the Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed are worthy of consideration. There’s also the Peugeot 308 and DS 4, which use the same EMP2 platform as the Astra. If you need to fit more junk in the trunk, the Astra is available in Sports Tourer estate form.
Buyers have a choice of petrol, plug-in hybrid, or electric power. The base 1.2-litre petrol engine produces either 109bhp or 128bhp, and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. An optional eight-speed automatic transmission is available for the more powerful version.
The 1.6-litre petrol plug-in hybrid powertrain produces 178bhp in the regular Astra, and 222bhp in the performance-oriented Astra GSe. This set-up allows the Astra to cover up to 43 miles without using a drop of petrol, and makes the PHEV a great company car choice.
If your circumstances can swing it, the all-electric Astra Electric is an even better choice for those looking to lower their Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) costs. It comes with a 154bhp electric motor with decent performance, and a 54kWh battery pack giving up to 258 miles of EV range.
Unlike the myriad choices offered with previous generations, the latest Astra comes with just three trim level options: Design (entry), GS (sporty) and Ultimate (luxury). The petrol Astra range starts from around £27,000, and is competitively priced with similar rivals. Prices for the plug-in hybrid models are a bit steep, starting at over £37,000, while our preferred GS-spec Astra Electric is priced at over £40,000.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingStylish looks, impressive technology, and a wide variety of engines make the Vauxhall Astra a convincingly good family hatchback
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Vauxhall Astra lineup includes a broad spectrum of petrol, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric power
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsThe Vauxhall Astra petrol offers fine fuel economy, but company car users will want the plug-in hybrid or electric versions
- 4Interior, design and technologyBuyers will be impressed with the Vauxhall Astra’s sharp looks and generous levels of standard kit
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceA big boot and practical cabin are welcome features, but the Vauxhall Astra could do with more space for rear passengers
- 6Reliability and safetyThe Vauxhall Astra misses out on a five-star Euro NCAP rating; Vauxhall’s Driver Power score shows there’s room for improvement