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3.8 out of 5 3.8
Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8

Astra gains cleaner engines - time to look at it again?

Vauxhall Astra Hatchback Review Video
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At a glance

New price £18,755 - £29,160
Lease from new From £256 per month
Used price £5,315 - £16,745
Used monthly cost £133 - £418
Fuel Economy 38.2 - 65.7 mpg
Road tax cost £0 - £160
Insurance group 6 - 24 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Updated engines for 2019 facelifted car
  • Low running costs from turbo petrols and diesels
  • High levels of on-board technology
  • Surprisingly fun to drive, but still comfortable

CONS

  • Rivals offer more space in the rear seats
  • Ordinary image won't be enough for some
  • No all-out performance version
  • Interior starting to feel dated

Vauxhall Astra Hatchback rivals

Written by Adam Binnie on

The Astra has been in production for 40 years and remains one of Britain’s bestselling models. Vauxhall is keen to keep it at the front of buyers' minds (particularly company car drivers), and that's why it's been given a facelift for 2019, which adds more efficient engines and new tech without changing the way it looks and feels too much.

Luton's hatchback still has a lot going for it. Promising buyers a keen blend of practicality, value-for-money and low running costs, it goes up against a long list of rivals including the award-winning Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon, Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed. 

Competition isn’t just limited to the hatchback class, however, with many buyers moving into SUVs and crossovers for their commanding driving position and perceived image. This means that cars such as the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Vauxhall Mokka X and larger Kia Sportage – none of which were around when the Astra first launched – will likely be on the radar of the average hatchback buyer.

Less weight, more space

Underneath the Astra’s crisp styling is a platform that is on average 200kg less heavy than that of the previous-generation model, making it one of the family car sector's more lightweight cars. Combined with improved aerodynamics, the Vauxhall’s thirst for fuel is reduced too. That inherent lightness also benefits the Astra’s agility, making it feel nimble both around town and on windier back roads.

A suite of electronic systems are designed to make the Vauxhall an enjoyable experience, and it's paid off with an accomplished drive and impressive comfort. Inside there’s a generous amount of space for passengers, allowing four six-foot adults to sit comfortably, while the dashboard is of good quality and has a neat, user-friendly layout and simple, slick touchscreen media system controlling most functions.

Vauxhall Astra interior 2019

Engine changes for 2019

For the 2019 facelift, the entire range of engines has been overhauled. There are three power variants of a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo (110, 130 and 145hp) and a 1.4-litre with 145hp, with the smaller three-pots using a six-speed manual and the 1.4 being CVT-only.

As for diesel power, a 1.5 with either 105 or 120hp are on offer, with the latter having a nine-speed auto on the options list. Vauxhall claims the Astra’s new engine range means up to 21% improved fuel consumptiom and emissions compared with before – the best claimed economy figures under the WLTP emissions tests are 54.3 for the petrol range and 64.2 for the diesels.

Pre-facelift petrols and efficient diesels

Whether petrol or diesel, almost the entire range of engines was turbocharged. The range started with the 1.0-litre Turbo, producing 105hp. It may sound like a small output but it's actually very responsive and smooth. If you wanted more power there are 125hp and 150hp versions of a 1.4-litre Turbo. The range was topped by a 1.6-litre 200hp engine, but was dropped from the line-up early in the Astra's lifecycle.

Diesel fans were offered a choice of two different versions of the 1.6-litre ‘Whisper’ CDTi unit in 110hp and 136hp outputs. All are impressively quiet - living up to the name - and offer a good amount of pulling power on the motorway, combined with strong fuel economy claims. There was a 160hp Bi-Turbo version of this engine. 

Generously equipped

Picking a trim level for you can appear daunting at first as - as of early 2019 until the arrival of the facelifted model later that year - there were a total of 10 to choose from. What you can choose depends on the engine you pick, but what you'll get across the range is a generous amount of equipment and the option of some advanced extras.

This Astra was the first Vauxhall to be available with the firm’s OnStar telematics system, with a concierge service just a button press away. It was an excellent system, but was dropped in the facelift – a victim of the post-PSA streamlining – and replaced by an optional e-call system.

As befitting modern smartphone technology, the Astra is also available with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, making connecting your device even easier. Particularly impressive at night are the IntelliLux LED matrix headlights with directional function when cornering and glare-free automatic main beam.

Read on for the full review of the 2019 Vauxhall Astra Hatchback

Vauxhall Astra Hatchback rivals

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