2019 Vauxhall Astra facelift revealed: price, specs and release date

Family hatchback is updated with efficiency-boosting measures and new engine options...

2019 Vauxhall Astra front

On sale: November | Price from: £19,500

Given that its maker is now under French ownership, you might expect this facelifted Vauxhall Astra to arrive in a beret, with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc gently chilling in its glovebox and La Marseillaise playing through its stereo. Thing is, though, the Astra was designed long before the PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroën and DS) signed on the dotted line, so for the moment, at least, it remains as British as Bovril. 

It’s certainly a popular choice among family car buyers, regularly appearing among the top 10 best-selling models in the UK, alongside its arch-nemesis, the Ford Focus. But four years on from launch and hot on the heels of an all-new Corsa, the seventh-generation Astra – in both five-door hatchback and Sports Tourer estate form – is in need of a mid-life refresh, so this facelift brings new engines, improved efficiency and updated infotainment.

First up, it features a number of new styling details – slats that open and close in the front grille to channel airflow, for example, and a sleeker underbody – designed to improve fuel economy by making the car slicker as it moves through the air. There are also new shock absorbers, which should improve the ride quality – one area where the Astra can fall behind rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf.

2019 Vauxhall Astra rear

2019 Vauxhall Astra engines

While you might expect to see some French engines parachuted into the Astra, the car’s underpinnings make this impossible. Instead, the Astra’s updated engines are bespoke. They kick off with a new 1.2-litre turbo petrol, available in 108bhp, 128bhp and 145bhp forms. The lowest-powered option is also the cleanest, returning up to 54.3mpg on the WLTP tests, with CO2 emissions of as low as 120g/km. In fact, thanks to its efficiency-boosting measures, Vauxhall says CO2 emissions have been slashed by as much as 19%. 

At the top of the petrol range is a new 145bhp 1.4-litre turbo engine that comes exclusively with a CVT automatic gearbox, rather than the six-speed manual that you get as standard elsewhere. Drivers covering enough miles to justify a diesel engine have two 1.5-litre engines to choose from: one making 104bhp, the other 120bhp, with the latter also available with a new nine-speed automatic gearbox.

2019 Vauxhall Astra interior

2019 Vauxhall Astra interior

Inside, you get one of three new touchscreen infotainment systems, depending on trim level, each compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The systems also incorporate a new look with larger symbols, which should make it easier to hit the icon you want while you’re driving. The instrument cluster also features a new digital speedometer, plus there’s a new wireless charging pad for mobile phones, a new heated windscreen and an optional seven-speaker Bose sound system for music lovers.

Elsewhere, the Astra’s automatic emergency braking system now recognises pedestrians, while the rear-view camera is of higher resolution, meaning obstacles and other cars should be easier to spot.

2019 Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

2019 Vauxhall Astra price

Prices for the facelifted Astra hatchback and estate aren’t expected to rise too much, so they should start at around £19,500 and £21,000 respectively. In the case of the big-selling hatchback, that price would make the Astra more expensive than all of its key rivals, but discounts should keep it as a tempting proposition; as a guide, What Car? New Car Buying can currently save you up to £4921 on the hatchback and £5018 on the estate.

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The most (and least) reliable older family cars

If you're in the market for a Vauxhall Astra, or indeed any other type of car, then you'll want to know that what you're buying is reliable – and that's doubly true if you're buying an older used car. Well, thanks to the data gathered from the annual What Car? Reliability Survey, we can tell you which older family cars will provide you with years of trouble-free motoring, and which are more trouble than they're worth. Below and over the next few pages, we'll reveal all.

=9. Honda Civic 2006-2012

Used Honda Civic Hatchback (06 - 12)

What Car? reliability rating 89.0%

Only 18% of Civics had a problem, with the most frequently cited area the battery.  but suspension was the culprit 10% of the time. Next up was the air conditioning, accounting for 10% of faults, followed by the brakes and suspension (8% and 6% respectively). Although half of cars were rendered undriveable, most were fixed the same day, and some took more than a week to repair. Some cars were fixed for free, but a small proportion of owners faced bills of more than £1500.

2013 VW Golf GTI review

What Car? reliability rating 89.0%

Fewer petrol-engined Golfs had a problem than diesels: 26% compared with 30%. The biggest issue for owners was suspension, followed by the engine, fuel system, brakes and bodywork. Virtually all cars could still be driven and many were fixed the same day; a third of cars were fixed under warranty, but a small percentage of owners were landed with repair bills of up to £500.

Read our full review of the Volkswagen Golf

See how much you could save on a Volkswagen Golf

8. Kia Ceed 2007-2012

Deal of the Day: Kia Ceed Sportswagon

What Car? reliability rating 89.3%

Only 23% of Ceeds had a fault, with the gearbox the most commonly reported problem area. Other issues concerned the brakes, battery, engine and suspension. Although half the cars became undriveable, the same number were back on the road the same day. Nearly half of cars were fixed under warranty and no repair bills exceeded £500.

Read our full review of the used Kia Ceed

See how much you could save on a new Kia Ceed

7. Toyota Auris 2007-2013

Toyota Auris: driven

What Car? reliability rating 91.3%

Only 20% of Auris owners reported a fault on their car, with the battery and interior trim the only areas concerned. A third of cars could still be driven and were fixed in less than a day. Repair bills ranged from less than £50 to £500. 

Used Hyundai i30 Hatchback 12-17

What Car? reliability rating 91.5%

Just 17% of i30s developed a problem, with the biggest areas of concern the brakes, followed by engine and non-engine electrics and the suspension. All of the cars could still be driven and all were fixed the same day. None of them were repaired under warranty, but no repair bills topped £500.  

Read our full review of the used Hyundai i30

See how much you could save on a new Hyundai i30

Next: the top five family cars for reliability >

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