What's the used Vauxhall Astra estate like?
Let’s face it: buyers of a family estate car are not usually looking for something that’ll offer thrills aplenty. What matters most of all in cars like these is space, comfort and – in particular – value. And while that last point is the trump card of the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, the fact that it offers so much else besides makes it a tempting used car.
For starters, there’s a plethora of engine options, from a basic 1.4-litre unit through to 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre turbo petrols, plus three 1.6-litre diesels, and up to the top-of-the-range 1.6-litre turbo petrol.
These are paired with a range of variants. Entry-level Design trim gets air conditioning and cruise control; SRi features sports seats and a leather steering wheel; Tech Line comes with sat-nav as standard; then there's SE, which has heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The Elite model is the priciest and gets automatic headlights and wipers, heated rear seats and ambient lighting. All trims from SRi upwards (apart from Tech Line) have the option of sat-nav.
Variety isn’t all the Astra can offer, though; it’s impressive to drive, too. Granted, it can’t quite match the class best Ford Focus Estate and Volkswagen Golf Estate for ride and handling balance, but it comes ever so close. In corners, it’s responsive, stable and grippy, with steering that’s sharp and direct, if a little on the light side. And yet it rides smoothly, too, particularly out on the motorway, where it soothes away all but the harshest bumps.
Diesel versions can get a little vocal when you ask more of them than a steady cruise, but the petrol models are commendably quiet, while every Astra is a doddle to drive, with easy controls and a progressive clutch.
Of course, space is a big priority in an estate car, and here the Astra performs well. Both front and rear passengers will find there’s plenty of room to stretch out; more so than in most rivals, in fact. And while the boot isn’t the biggest in the class, it’s a very practical, square shape, and when you fold the rear seats down the space that’s left is flat and very usable.
Further forward, the dashboard is less impressive; top-spec Elite models look decent enough with gloss black inserts, but cheaper versions get a plasticky-looking matt silver lump that stretches across the dash. Still, most cars get a smart 8.0in touchscreen that works well and all the buttons and controls are well placed and slick to use. If you can live with the way it looks, you’ll have no complaints.