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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Cheap to buy and cheap to run

Against Firm ride won't suit everyone

Verdict Sensible... but it won’t set the pulse racing

Go for…

Avoid…

Vauxhall Astra Coupe
  • 1. Brakes, axle and suspension can give problems
  • 2. Check the timing belt has been changed on time; and look at the exhaust manifold on a 1.8-litre engine
  • 3. Front and rear seats alike are supportive and roomy
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Vauxhall Astra Coupe full review with expert trade views

Being based on the Astra hatchback is no bad thing as it provides the Coupe with a taut chassis and good cornering ability. The Coupe sits 30mm lower than the standard car and has firmer suspension settings, so it drives more sportily, but you’ll only notice the ride being anything less than comfortable on the bumpiest of roads.

Likewise, the driver shouldn’t have any problem getting comfortable thanks to a highly adjustable seat and steering column. However, the design of the cabin is not that inspiring (and not that different to the standard hatchback), although it is well laid out and logical.

On the other hand, it is remarkably practical for a two-door. There's a good helping of space for the driver and front-seat passenger, and two adults can sit in comfort in the back unless they’re very tall. Plus, the front seats slide forward as they tilt, so it's simplicity itself to get there. And, to cap it all, the boot is a decent size and there’s a split-fold rear seat.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

You won't buy one for looks so the 2.0 Turbo is the only choice

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There are four four engines to choose from, all petrol. At the bottom of the range, the 99bhp 1.6 is for those who prefer a slower pace, but the 123bhp 1.8 has just enough power to feel nippy.

On the other hand, the 144bhp 2.2 has plenty of go, and the 2.0-litre turbo is genuinely rapid, delivering near-150mph performance.

Of these various options, the 2.2 is probably the best bet. It’s quick enough, has reasonable fuel economy and doesn’t attract massive insurance premiums. It's also the only option if you want a coupe with an automatic gearbox.

Whichever you choose, you'll get plenty of kit, with air-con, power steering, remote central locking, alloy wheels, a single-slot CD player and front electric windows on every car. The two largest-engined models add a CD multichanger and cruise control, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for a car with leather and climate control, both optional extras when the Coupe was new.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Turbo and Bertone Editions have huge showroom appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru

It’s a Vauxhall, so it shouldn’t be too expensive. Fuel economy is good, for a start, with the 1.6 delivering 42mpg, and the 1.8 and 2.0 Turbo returning 35mpg and 31mpg respectively. The 2.2-litre option delivers a reasonable 34mpg.

Insurance premiums are competitive for the class, but as with all coupes they are generally high. The 1.6 starts in group 9 and the Turbo comes in at 15. The 1.8 and 2.2 sit at 11 and 13.

The coupe's service intervals of every 10,000 miles are par for the course, but Vauxhall dealers aren’t known for their high prices, so that will cushion the blow. However, you will also need to budget for timing belt changes (every 40,000 miles), so check when it was last done.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

You won't buy one for looks so the 2.0 Turbo is the only choice

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

According to Warranty Direct, Astras have a reasonable reliability rating and a low average cost of repairs. When things do go wrong the brakes, engine and axle/suspension problems are the usual culprits.

When you come to look over any potential buy, check when the timing belt was last changed and have a look at the exhaust manifold on the 1.8-litre engine, which can crack and necessitates a new catalytic converter as part of the repair. Power steering pumps can also fail on high-mileage cars.

Other things to watch out for include damp front footwell carpets (moisture can get in via the ventilation system), while uneven tyre wear can be a sign of suspension misalignment and might indicate a bigger problem.

There have also been a couple of recalls on the Astra, concerning the brakes and steering. Check the VIN with a dealer to see if any work was necessary - and it's been carried out.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Turbo and Bertone Editions have huge showroom appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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