Twin test: Vauxhall Astra vs VW Golf

  • We put these two best-selling hatchbacks face to face
  • Practicality, running costs and driveability explored
  • Find out which combines all three into the best package

The mid-size hatchback has always been an incredibly competitive corner of the market and no wonder. It’s the most common dilemma, what car should a mid-size family with a medium budget buy to suit all of their daily needs?

We pitch the Volkswagen Golf against the Vauxhall Astra to find out.

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Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi Ecoflex SRi (2015-) vs
Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 110hp Match Edition (2013-)


Vauxhall Astra
In this segment low running costs are often the higher priority over driving thrills, but nevertheless, the Astra’s chassis does allow for some on-the-road fun. This class of car needn’t be dull and so it is great to report that the Vauxhall is far from bland.

The 1.6-litre diesel is firmly at the lower end of the model’s power output, but 10.2 seconds to 62mph is competitive across the board.

Volkswagen Golf 
The Golf’s driving characteristics are broadly similar to the Astra, but that’s no surprise as the Golf has long been the benchmark in this sector. The lumps and bumps of British roads are soaked up and the engine is powerful enough for all your motorway overtaking demands.

The 249Nm of torque from the diesel motor means that the Golf feels gutsy at lower revs.



Vauxhall Astra
Similar to its drive, the Astra’s practicality is a case of class contender rather than class leader. The boot has a 370-litre capacity with the rear seats up, this increases to 1,210 litres when collapsed – useful enough but by no means outstanding.

A five-star Euro NCAP crash test score makes it a safe choice for the family run-around.

Volkswagen Golf
In Match Edition specification the Golf is adequately equipped. Volkswagen’s excellent multimedia system takes mere moments to grasp. This means that soon you will be hopping between the different driving modes depending on your mood.

380 litres with the seats in place and 1,270 litres with them folded down gives the Golf’s boot the edge in our twin test.


Vauxhall Astra
CO2 emissions of just 91g/km place the Astra in VED band A meaning you won’t have to pay a penny in car tax. The 1.6 diesel is quoted at 83mpg but regular driving behaviour will most likely see that figure slip into the 60s.

There is a £2,000 price difference between our cars on the forecourt, but expect the Astra to lose ground by taking the bigger hit when the time comes for you to sell it on.

Volkswagen Golf
In recent years, Volkswagen’s rivals have closed the price gap between competitors; but in this twin test the Golf’s still two pay grades above the rest. Judging by current trends, VW’s infamous build quality and reliability will likely see lesser repair costs during your time with the car and greater residuals returned when you look to sell.

The 74mpg quoted economy does mark a concession to the Astra.




Vauxhall Astra

1.6 CDTi

VW Golf

1.6 TDI








Fuel capacity

48 litres

50 litres

Road Tax

Band A -

£0 p/a 

Band A -

£0 p/a




Insurance Group




10.2 seconds

11.2 seconds

Boot space

370 litres

380 litres




CO2 emissions





Vauxhall Astra
Both of these cars offer compelling levels of refinement and practicality for almost every road user. The step-up for this latest Astra narrows the gap from Vauxhall to VW further than ever before. But with the stronger performance figures and £2,000 saving for the Vauxhall, we recommend it as the better buy.

Volkswagen Golf
Despite recent bad headlines for VW, there is no denying it still produces fine road cars at most levels of the market.

The Golf is considerably slower and less economical than the Astra – and that really matters at this level – and despite the premium quality inside and out and its better residuals, the Astra wins with the slimmest of margins in this twin test.

Still need help deciding what to go for?

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