- The car: Vauxhall Astra 1.4T 150 Elite Nav Sports Tourer
- Run by: Michèle Hall, deputy art editor
- Why it's here: To see if a traditional estate car can fit into family and work life as well as a trendier SUV can
- Needs to: Make light work of the suburban commute and the school run; deal with long motorway trips and fully laden family holidays; handle weekly supermarket trips; prove that it's practicality and ease of use make it a sound alternative to an SUV
Price £22,685 Price as tested £25,320 Miles 295 Official economy 50.4mpg Test economy 51.3mpg Options fitted Intellilux LED Matrix headlights and Driving Assistance pack 1 (£1815); Parking pack (£615); Ergonomic sports-style front seats (£205)
27 April 2017 – the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer joins our fleet
With the SUV now the default choice for the family car buyer, you might think that the humble estate is dead in the water, but you’d be wrong: there’s still a broad spectrum of very good estate cars on offer, with everything represented from a teeny Skoda Fabia Estate right up to the mammoth Volvo V90, and all sizes inbetween.
Our new long-termer, this Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, sits slap bang in the middle of that list. We like the regular Astra hatchback here at What Car?, admiring it for its driving experience, its smart and roomy interior and its dashing good looks.
To add more practicality in the form of an estate car body is a consummation devoutly to be wished, we think, and so it’s come to pass that this Lava Red Astra Sports Tourer has joined our fleet. We’ll want to find out if it fits into family and work life as well as an SUV would, and to see how it compares with its rivals in this size and price bracket.
Keeping on trend, we’ve gone for a petrol-engined version. With this turbocharged 148bhp 1.4-litre unit, there’s certainly no shortage of go, while its on-paper official fuel figure of 50.4mpg and reasonable CO2 emissions of 130g/km look pretty competitive, too.
Wanting to spoil ourselves, we’ve chosen the top-spec trim, Elite Nav, which features a host of desirable goodies including Vauxhall’s celebrated Onstar system. This offers an in-car wi-fi hotspot, a concierge service that allows you to phone a call centre and ask for route information (which is then automatically uploaded to your sat-nav) and a system that contacts the emergency services automatically if you have an accident. It can also relay information about the car’s whereabouts, or the status of anything from tyre pressures to fuel levels, to your smartphone.
Option-wise, we’ve added a Driver Assistance pack and a Parking pack. The latter includes front and rear parking sensors and allows the car to park itself, as well as adding a rear-view camera and a side blind-spot alert system. Both packs are admittedly costly options, but it means we also get Intellilux LED lights, a Forward Collision Alert with automatic emergency braking (AEB), Traffic Sign Recognition and a Lane Departure Warning system with Lane Assist, which keeps you in your lane if you stray over white lines without indicating.
We’ve also upgraded our standard leather seats to the Ergonomic Seats, which have 16-way adjustment over the standard nine-way, plus an extendable seat cushion.
To give the Sports Tourer a thorough test, we’ve handed it over to our deputy art editor, Michèle Hall, who’ll be running the car for the next few months. She’ll be reporting back here to let you know how she’s getting on. Along with her husband David and her two young sons, Billy and Ben, she’ll be throwing everyday life at it, with everything from work commutes and school runs to motorway schleps and fully laden family holidays planned.
Their first impressions are good. Thanks in no small part to those comfortable and supportive leather seats, it’s easy for people of all sizes to find the perfect driving position. On the move it echoes the hatchback Astra, which is no bad thing: it’s responsive, refined and comfortable. In fact, everything so far seems promising, and Michèle and her family are very much looking forward to the next few months with it.
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