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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For It has a fair-sized boot, there’s a wide choice of models and it’s cheap to run

Against The view out of the back is too restricted and the diesels can be grumbly

Verdict Astra estate is an accomplished load-eater with plenty of cabin space

Go for… 1.6 Club

Avoid… 1.4 Life

Vauxhall Astra Estate
  • 1. Check the load area for tears or stains because replacing fabric trim can be expensive
  • 2. Loadbay is large and the rear seats drop fully flat - good marks for practicality
  • 3. The cabin is comfy and will take five adults easily
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Vauxhall Astra Estate full review with expert trade views

Most importantly, the Astra Estate is very practical. The tailgate opens wide to reveal a square loadbay, with none of the hatchback’s V-shape, which so limits its versatility. True, it’s not the biggest boot you’ll find, but the seats drop without fuss to give a flat floor. Watch out for the drop between the sill and loadbay, though.

The Astra estate is good for people, too, and the cabin will easily take five adults. On top of that, the driver’s seat and steering adjust in all directions and the view forward is good. However, the thick A-pillars create blind spots, and rear visibility isn’t so good, especially when parking.

Perhaps the big surprise to anyone used to previous Astras is how well this version drives. The car feels well controlled through corners and the ride is comfortable, although the SRi's stiffer suspension can feel unsettled. It's pretty refined, too, apart from the diesel engines, which sound clattery at low speeds.

Safety is a strong point, too. The Astra scores the five-star maximum for keeping occupants safe in Euro NCAP tests and a creditable four for protecting children in the back.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Lots of interest, especially in diesel, and Design spec does well

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Overall, the best blend of price and performance comes with the 1.6 petrol, which has just about enough punch for most people’s needs. Mind you, it's certainly worth having a look at any of the diesel versions, which range from a 1.3 turbo delivering 89bhp through a 1.7 and two 1.9s providing 120bhp or 150bhp.

Trim-wise, entry models are badged Life and have central locking, electric windows, four airbags and anti-lock brakes. Move up to Club (our choice) and curtain airbags and air-con come as standard. Next, there’s SXi and SRi, which have sportily styled cabins, alloy wheels and (in the SRi) stiffer suspension. Finally, Design offers top-level trim including leather seats.

Vauxhall dealers have the best choice via the acclaimed Network Q approved used car scheme, but supermarkets have a few at lower prices.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Good reliability with low repair bills watch for suspension and electrical problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Vauxhall pares down running costs to keep the company fleets happy, so it's as cheap to service an Astra as any rival and fuel economy is impressive. Expect the diesels to achieve up to 50mpg, while the mid-range petrols regularly better 35mpg. The 2.0 turbo dips to 20mpg around town, however.

Insurance costs are also low. Most versions fall within groups 4-6, although the 150bhp 1.9 diesel is group 11 or 12, depending on model, and the 2.0 turbo is group 13 or 14.

Depreciation – the rate at which cars lose value from new – hits Astras hard. The first owner loses 40% of what he originally paid by the time the car reaches a year old, and 50% by two years. So buying an Astra at a few months old makes little sense when a two–year-old is so much cheaper – and unlikely to lose value quickly from that point onwards.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Lots of interest, especially in diesel, and Design spec does well

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Most estates are bought new by fleets and worked hard. So, check the load area for tears or stains because replacing fabric trim can be expensive. If the car has a tow hook, ask what it has been used to haul and have the suspension and drivetrain checked for excess wear or damage.

Mechanically, though, Astras are reliable, and the previous model did reasonably well in JD Power customer satisfaction surveys. The What Car? Reliability Index shows that Astras are dependable and very cheap to fix when they do go wrong.

There’s also the reassurance that any good local garage should be more than capable of tackling routine maintenance.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Good reliability with low repair bills watch for suspension and electrical problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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