It must be said: in terms of styling, the last couple of Vauxhall Astras were anonymous blobs. I had to do a Google image search just to remind myself of what they looked like – distinctive design elements were conspicuously absent from both the Astra J and K.
Now, Opel/Vauxhall has revealed the all-new eighth-generation version, and holy moly – this is much more like it. We have a much more angular car with boxy wheel arches and a nicely aggressive face that reminds us of the Manta GSE Elektromod revealed a few weeks back. Yes, it’s too fussy in places, but the ‘Astra L’ is leagues ahead of its immediate predecessors.
It hasn’t had quite as big a growth spurt as some recently revealed family cars, stretching in length by a mere 4mm. The wheelbase meanwhile is up by 13mm, which should translate to a little more knee room for those up back. The boot meanwhile can swallow up to 422 litres of luggage.
Under that nicely sculpted bonnet, you can have one of a bunch of engines pinched from its Peugeot 308 platform-mate. There’s a 1.2-litre inline-three petrol producing 108bhp, a 1.5-litre diesel with 128bhp, or a 1.6-litre four-cylinder hybrid petrol which joins forces with a single electric motor and a 12.4kWh battery pack.
With the latter, you can have either 178bhp or 222bhp. Don’t expect VW Golf GTI-rivalling performance from the latter, though – that big battery will weigh it down by a good few hundred kilos. The pack does make for a handy 31-mile electric-only range, though.
That’s as powerful as the Astra is going to get, we should think. A new OPC/VXR version would be great, but given that the new Astra relies on borrowing Peugeot bits, don’t hold your breath. The fellow Stellantis brand has ditched its GTI badge and ruled out a Peugeot Sport Engineered version of the 308.
Inside, we get an oh-so 2020s cockpit featuring big screens and a conspicuous lack of physical buttons. Vauxhall’s ‘Pure Panel’ system, first seen on the Mokka, is here, featuring a pair of 10-inch displays. You do get some good old-fashioned comfort, though, with some in-house developed seats certified by ‘Aktion Gesunder Rücken’ (Campaign for Healthy Backs). “Good posture is guaranteed,” Vauxhall boasts.
We also get the usual array of driver assistance tech, working from four cameras plus a smattering of radar and ultrasonic sensors. There’s even a (presumably optional) head-up display.
The new Astra will be available to order from autumn with an expected starting price a little north of £22,000. First deliveries will kick off early next year.
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