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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
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PROS

  • High levels of on-board tech
  • Better than ever to drive
  • Improved interior space
  • Reduced running costs

CONS

  • Doesn’t set any class standards
  • Rivals are still roomier
  • Lacks an enticing image

Verdict

Following on from the 2015 launch of its hatchback sibling, the spacious new Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer is the estate car member of the family.

Like the Vauxhall Astra Hatchback, the Sports Tourer is the seventh generation of estates to wear the name, its lineage stretching back to 1980.

Even though it has one of the largest boots in its class and more room for passengers than its predecessor, the British-built Sports Tourer won’t have things all its own way in the mid-sized family estate market.

There’s fierce competition in the forms of not just the Ford Focus Estate and Volkswagen Golf Estate, but other players such as the capacious Honda Civic Tourer, Peugeot 308 SW and Skoda Octavia Estate.

Lighter, more spacious body

An impressive 135kg has been shaved from the latest Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer’s heft in spite of it being slightly larger than the model it replaces and employing high-strength steel in its construction.

Like the hatchback, it rides on an all-new, lighter underbody – being less heavy allows for compact, more efficient engines as well as a size reduction for other components, like smaller brakes.

This reduces the Astra Sports Tourer’s thirst for fuel, aided by improved aerodynamics which match the hatchback’s wind-cheating performance.

Despite being lighter, the latest Sports Tourer’s structure is also more rigid, allowing engineers to fine-tune the handling to an impressive degree. It’s set to sate more enthusiastic drivers with its wieldiness just as the hatchback does.

No surprise that the interior is as accommodating for passengers as the Astra hatchback: four six-foot tall adults will easily sit comfortably while the back seat accommodates three child seats – a rarity in a car that’s not a traditional MPV.

Efficient engine range

Save for the entry-level 1.4-litre petrol with 99bhp, all of the other engines in the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer line-up are turbocharged.

The petrol range is fleshed out by a three-cylinder 1-litre motor with 104bhp, a further pair of 1.4s with 123bhp and 148bhp, respectively, and topping the performance side of the range, a 1.6-litre with 197bhp. That’s the one to go for if a 146mph top speed and a 0-62mph sprint of 7.2 seconds are at the top of your priority list.

Diesels are expected to make up the majority of sales: all are 1.6-litre versions of Vauxhall’s ‘Whisper’ CDTi unit in 108bhp, 134bhp and in BiTurbo form, 158bhp.

With a claimed average of 83.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 89g/km, versions of the 108bhp engine with the fuel-saving ecoFLEX pack and riding on 16-inch wheels will minimise running costs.

Well-equipped, simplified range

Almost mirroring its hatchback counterpart, the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer line-up consists of four trim levels – there’s no Energy grade for the estate range – but many of the features offered are more commonly associated with more expensive cars.

Both SRi and Elite trims come with Vauxhall’s online concierge service, OnStar, as standard. Press the OnStar button just above the rear-view mirror and you’re put through to a Luton-based call centre. Need directions to a restaurant? The OnStar representative will present a range of alternatives with the directions to your chosen one sent straight to the sat-nav.

If you drive a lot at night you’ll be impressed with the illumination of the optional IntelliLux LED matrix headlights. Not only do they offer a directional function when cornering, the automatic main beam prevents oncoming drivers from being dazzled.

Find out more about how we rate this spacious-yet-compact family estate by reading Parkers’ full Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer review.

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