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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.

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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.

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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?

Head-to-head

Boot space

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.

Useful touches

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.

Verdict

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

Toyota Auris Touring Sports 6

Price: £23,445Engine: 1.8-litre 4cyl, 136bhp

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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.

Verdict

 Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI 150 SE L DSGPeugeot 308 SW 2.0 HDi 150 Allure EAT6Vauxhall Astra ST 1.6 CDTi BiTurbo SRi Nav
On-the-road price/total as tested£24,980/£24,980£24,365/£24,365£23,385/£24,935
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£10,916/43.7%£9,113/37.4%£8,699/37.2%
Depreciation£14,064£15,252£14,686
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,147/£2,293£1,021/£2,042£1,027/£2,053
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,242/£2,070£1,258/£2,096£1,201/£2,001
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost21/£662/B/£2025/£695/B/£2020/£481/C/£30
Servicing costs£279 (2yrs)£13pm (3yrs/35k)£570 (3yrs)
    
Length/wheelbase4,659/2,686mm4,585/2,730mm4,702/2,662mm
Height/width1,465/1,814mm1,472/1,863mm1,510/1,809mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,968cc4cyl in-line/1,997cc4cyl in-line/1,598cc
Peak power 148/3,500 bhp/rpm148/4,000 bhp/rpm158/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 340/1,750 Nm/rpm370/2,000 Nm/rpm350/1,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel50 litres/£10053 litres/space-saver48 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 610/1,740 litres660/1,775 litres540/1,630 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,299/645/1,600kg1,420/580/1,400kg1,435/550/1,700kg
Turning circle10.4 metres10.8 metres11.1 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/1yr3yrs (unltd)/1yr3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/13520,000 miles (1yr)/30020,000 miles (1yr)/404
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.3rd/7th^17th/5th^25th/19th^
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./points93/86/66/5 (2013)92/79/64/5 (2013)86/84/83/5 (2015)
    
0-60/30-70mph7.9/7.3 secs8.4/8.1 secs8.2/7.2 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 3.1/4.9 secs3.4/4.7 secs3.3/4.4 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 6.6/9.2 secs6.4/8.8 secs5.4/6.8 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 132mph/1,900rpm135mph/1,800rpm137mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 44.9/30.6/10.1m42.1/29.9/9.2m49.3/32.6/9.6m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph65/49/61/67dB69/47/62/70dB66/44/60/67dB
Auto Express econ (miles/mpg)/range46.7/10.3/514 miles46.1/10.1/537 miles48.3/10.6/510 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 55.4/76.6/64.2mpg56.5/76.3/67.34mpg54.3/76.3/67.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 12.2/15.5/14.1mpl12.4/16.8/14.8mpl11.9/16.8/14.8mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket162/115g/km/23%164/109g/km/21%157/112g/km/22%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSeven/yes/rear/£300Six/yes/yes/£200Six/y/£450/£595^^
Auto gearbox/AEB^/cruise controlYes/yes/yesYes/£450/yesNo/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/£675/£250Yes/£1,500/£1,500**£395/no/£345
Metallic paint/xenons/power tailgate£535/£1,120/£400£525/LED/no£545/£995 (LED)/£745
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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