Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer driven
* Up to 1550 litres of bootspace * At least £995 more than the hatchback * On sale now, from £16,575...
What is it?
The estate version of the Vauxhall Astra. Its also a good-looking car, with a sleek, tapered rear end that hides its practical nature well.
Just how practical is it?
Impressively so. Boot space up to the load cover and with the optional tyre-inflation kit is 500 litres, which is on a par with estate versions of the VW Golf and Ford Focus. Its a useful regular shape, too, and theres a wide load entrance and no lip to lift things over.
Tipping the rear seatbacks forward creates a long, level space and on the top two trims there are handy release buttons on the sides of the boot. For more space you can flip the rear seat bases forward and lift them out, to give a total of 1550 litres of space.
Whats it like to drive?
The Sports Tourer feels similar to the hatchback its based on, which is to be expected given that the two models share the same wheelbase and suspension.
That means the Sports Tourer isnt the most exciting car in its class, but the forgiving ride means its relaxing to be in. The steering is rather lazy, though, and if you want a bit more fun, you should go for one of the SRi models, which (base 1.4 version apart) have sports suspension that gives a slightly sharper feel.
We tried the 113bhp 1.6 petrol version, which is smooth but not particularly quick, and the 123bhp 1.7 diesel, which is more flexible if rather gruff.
How much does it cost?
Prices start at £16,575, which makes the entry-point car more than 500 less than the outgoing Astra Estate. The premium over the hatchback is at least £995. ES, Exclusiv, SE and SRi models are available.
The Astra Sports Tourer is on sale now.
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