Value choice: 1.4i 16V Expression

  • Strikingly low price of £12,995
  • Reasonable equipment levels
  • Compares well with its rivals

With an ultra-low starting price, we’d recommend that the best Vauxhall Astra for value is the Expression 1.4i 16v.

At £12,995, it really is properly cheap – the next derivative up is the Exclusiv which costs £16,135, yet the Expression has 5% better resale values. It also has identical figures for both fuel economy and CO2 emissions, at a creditable 51mpg average and 129g/km respectively.

This puts it in VED Band D for road tax, free for the first year with an annual rate of £100 thereafter.

Expression, together with ES, is the entry-level trim for Astras and that means you’ll have to do without niceties such as alloy wheels and Bluetooth connectivity. You do get air-con, however, as well as 60/40 split-folding rear seats and safety kit including ESP and front, side and curtain airbags.

It’s a fair jump in cost to upgrade to the Exclusiv trim on the next rung of the Astra ladder, and you won’t get a whole lot more for your money apart from cruise control, storage pockets on the back of the front seats and an extra bit of chrome on the steering wheel. Unless cruise control really is a must-have, we’d suggest sticking with the Expression. Do bear in mind that a steel space-saver spare wheel isn’t standard, but is an £85 option worth having if you don’t want to be messing about with an inflator kit or can of tyre foam if you’re unfortunate enough to pick up a puncture.

A top speed of 105mph and 0-60mph in 14 seconds mean the 1.4i 16v Astra isn’t the fastest car on the road, but with a little under 90bhp it won’t struggle to keep pace with traffic and will have no bother cruising at motorway speeds.

The Astra compares well with its rivals for price. For example the Ford Focus 1.6 Studio, our pick of the Focus range for value, weighs in at £1,000 more with a starting price of £13,995. Depreciation levels for the Astra are roughly on a par with the Focus and Peugeot 308 and service intervals are competitively spaced at two years or 20,000 miles.