Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer vs Skoda Octavia Estate vs Peugeot 308 SW
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer mixes space and smart looks, but can it beat Peugeot and Skoda’s estate offerings?
Vauxhall is a brand on the comeback trail of late. First, the Corsa was revamped to make it a front-runner in the supermini class again, then earlier this year, the all-new Astra proved it had what it takes to come out on top of the hatchback market. Now it’s the turn of the Astra Sports Tourer estate to prove its worth.
As it’s based on the enormously capable five-door, the practical newcomer scores plenty of plus points already. The engine range and trim line-up have been carried over from the hatchback, while the car has been redesigned for extra space at the back.
For this test, we’re trying a new engine for the range: the 1.6 CDTi BiTurbo. With 158bhp on tap, it’s more potent than some larger-capacity units from rival firms.
Therefore, we’ve lined up a pair of 2.0-litre diesel-engined estate rivals that should give the Astra a real run for its money, both in terms of practicality and performance. The Peugeot 308 SW combines space and stylish looks inside and out with the promise of low running costs, while the Skoda Octavia Estate is the epitome of the practical family workhorse.
Can the new Astra Sports Tourer maintain the five-door’s winning ways, or does the competition show it a thing or two about family car versatility?
The Astra Sports Tourer comes third in the space race, with its 540-litre boot capacity 120 litres behind the 308 SW’s. It has a narrower opening, too, although the boot floor is at least level with the load lip, as in the 308; the Octavia has a step down to its floor. The Peugeot’s high-set load cover means there’s more space under it than in the Astra.
Both the Skoda and Peugeot have levers in the boot that fold their rear benches flat. The Vauxhall gets lashing eyes set into the boot sides, and the 308 has sliding lashing points. The French car also gets a ski hatch in the rear seatback, while the Octavia has bag hooks in the boot.
Company car tax
With CO2 emissions of 112g/km, the Astra falls into the 22 per cent tax band, while manual versions of the Octavia and 308 SW come in at 21 and 20 per cent. So, business users will face higher bills for the Vauxhall, despite it having the lowest list price here.
First place: Skoda Octavia Estate
It’s a close call, but the Octavia Estate takes the gold medal here. Boot space is just as useful as the 308 SW’s, there’s more room in the back seats and more practical touches throughout the cabin. Decent everyday costs counter the higher list price, while the agile chassis and responsive diesel make the Skoda more fun to drive than its conservative looks would lead you to believe.
Second place: Peugeot 308 SW
For sheer space, the 308 SW is the front-runner in this class, while the 2.0 HDi engine delivers decent performance and low running costs for company car buyers. Go for an Allure model, and you get plenty of kit, too. But the Peugeot isn’t quite as good to drive as the Octavia, and any potential buyer needs to try out the car’s driving position before they take the plunge.
Third place: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer
A third-place finish for the Astra Sports Tourer reveals exactly how close the competition is in this class. While the estate is just as well built, competitively priced and enjoyable to drive as the hatch, it’s held back by its smaller boot. The ST is still roomy, but it’s shaded by its rivals here, and the potent diesel isn’t quite as efficient, either.
Other options in this category...
Toyota Auris Touring Sports Hybrid Design
Price: £23,445Engine: 1.8-litre 4cyl, 136bhp
Car group tests
If the bottom line is key, the petrol-electric Auris estate is your best bet, as it emits 92g/km of CO2 and only costs £688 a year for lower-rate taxpayers. You have to put up with a rather dull driving experience, but it comes well equipped.
SEAT Leon ST 2.0 TDI 150 FR
Price: £23,350Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 148bhp
The Leon ST has the same diesel engine as the Octavia, but it’s a racier choice with its sharper looks and sportier handling. While it emits more CO2, the 112g/km output is the same as the new Astra’s, which puts company car tax on a par.
|Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI 150 SE L DSG
|Peugeot 308 SW 2.0 HDi 150 Allure EAT6
|Vauxhall Astra ST 1.6 CDTi BiTurbo SRi Nav
|On-the-road price/total as tested
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel
|48 litres/repair kit
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery
|Service intervals/UK dealers
|20,000 miles (1yr)/300
|20,000 miles (1yr)/404
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./points
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th
|50-70mph in 5th/6th
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph
|Auto Express econ (miles/mpg)/range
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket
|Auto gearbox/AEB^/cruise control
|Climate control/leather/heated seats
|Metallic paint/xenons/power tailgate