- 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
01 June 2017 – Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer second report
Price £22,685 Price as tested £25,320 Miles 778 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)
I’ve been living with our Astra Sports Tourer for a few months now, but am still adjusting to a few things in my day-to-day life with it. In particular, it's quite long, so I can forget about parking in the sort of snug spaces that my previous car, a Suzuki Baleno, could easily be squeezed into.
The up side of that length is the boot, which is proving to not only be big, but also very versatile. Its retractable cover is sturdy enough for me to rest objects on top, meaning all the stuff that goes with family live can go in the cavernous boot space, and I can put a suit bag or some dry cleaning above without having to worry about getting creases in my smart clothes.
In fact, I'd barely had the Astra a week before I was putting its sizeable boot to good use – a tip run after a mammoth garage clear-out turned out to be no problem for it at all. As a bonus, the boot has a super-practical wipe clean finish, which means I never feel guilty about loading all those bags of garden waste and muddy bikes and wellies into it.
The Astra also impressed on a recent drive to Brighton for a family holiday; the prospect of using the 4G in-car Wi-Fi during the trip down was almost too exciting for my two boys, aged eight and 10. “So, we can watch YouTube videos all the way there?” they asked. Well, we certainly tried, and for a while the Wi-Fi worked brilliantly, keeping the boys entertained while still allowing the sat-nav to direct us.
However, on a few occasions, an ominous red 'loading' circle appeared on the infotainment screen and we lost signal. This led to lots of groaning from the back seat passengers, and it wasn’t long before the sat-nav came to a complete standstill and we had to resort to Google Maps via my phone!
The engine seemed to struggle a bit at motorways speeds, too, feeling underpowered, while in town you need to be doing more than 30mph before you can shift up to third gear, which is a bit frustrating. But on the plus side we only filled the car up once and still came back with just under half a tank, so it definitely saved on the costs of our holiday and meant we had more to spend in the arcades.