Despite coming with a higher level of standard equipment than ever before, the Astra is a fair bit cheaper than the model it replaces. That means it undercuts the Volkswagen Golf by a big margin and is very competitive against the Ford Focus. Where the Astra can’t compete with its German rival is on residual value, as the Golf will hold on to much more of its value over a three-year period.
Servicing costs are reasonable, with fixed price plans on offer, although insurance can be higher than the class average.
As you may expect, excellent MPG means very low CO2 emissions. The 134bhp diesel manages 99g/km, while the less powerful version in Ecoflex guise emits just 82g/km. If you prefer petrol power, the 1.0-litre turbo also manages emissions of 99g/km and, due to not attracting a 3% BIK tax surcharge, actually works out cheapest as a company car.
Even entry-level Design models get a touchscreen infotainment system, alloy wheels, electric windows and mirrors plus air conditioning. Tech Line will be the one to go for if you’re a business user: you gain sat-nav, an upgraded stereo and an armrest for the driver.
Moving up to SRi trim is the best bet for private buyers, or SRi Nav if you want sat-nav included. All SRi models come with OnStar, bigger wheels, a Sport button, front foglights, auto wipers, forward collision alert with auto braking and lane keeping assist.
Elite sits at the top of the range and includes twin USB power sockets in the rear, electric folding mirrors, heated seats in the front and outer rear plus dual-zone climate control.
While you don’t need to go mad with options, we’d recommend the ergonomic seats for lumbar support, sat-nav and parking sensors.
Vauxhall Astra reliability
Unfortunately this generation of Astra is too new for us to have any information on reliability. Vauxhall as a manufacturer came 19th out of 37 manufacturers in our 2015 reliability survey, while the previous generation of Astra was above average. Although they may only be mid-table, they still beat the likes of Seat, Renault and even Volkswagen.
Like all Vauxhalls, the Astra comes with a three-year or 60,000 mile warranty and a year’s worth of roadside assistance. This is in keeping with cover from the majority of other manufacturers but can’t beat the five-year warranties that Hyundai and Toyota offer. It’s also a long way behind the seven-year warranty Kia offers. You can extend your warranty by up to an additional three years or 80,000 miles.
Vauxhall Astra safety & security
All models receive plenty of airbags. There are side-impact airbags for the front and curtain airbags front and rear. If you want to avoid a collision in the first place, you can opt for a driving assistance pack that includes a forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking.
Disappointingly, this is only an option on the lower trims. When you consider Match Edition Golf models and above get auto braking as standard, we feel Vauxhall are being a bit stingy here.
Despite this, the Astra received five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test during 2015. The individual scores are 86% for adult occupant protection, 84% for child occupant protection and 83% for pedestrian protection. By comparison, the VW Golf received scores of 94%, 89% and 65% respectively.
Design, Energy and selected versions of Tech Line and SRi trims don’t get an alarm as standard so only get a three-star theft from rating from the experts at Thatcham. All other models receive a four-star theft rating, while all versions get a five-star rating for the car itself being stolen.
Those cars equipped with OnStar also have an automatic emergency response function, so if you have an accident, it will call the emergency services and inform them of your location. OnStar can also help to locate the car if it has been stolen.
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Entry-level Design models receive hill start assist, cruise control, a touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning and auto lights. For not much more, however, you can get Tech Line that adds even more kit.
While it may be barely any more expensive than Design trim, Tech Line adds a leather steering wheel, rear door speakers, an armrest and sat-nav with an 8in screen. Definitely the best option for business users, although private buyers may find better finance deals on other models.
All the kit of Design plus 17in alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel and heated seats. Significantly more expensive than Design for not much extra kit, so we’d pass on this.
Our pick SRi
It may be more expensive than Energy but you get a lot more equipment. There’s a sportier design of 17in wheel, front foglights, leather steering wheel, sports seats, a front armrest, auto wipers, a six speaker stereo with OnStar, auto dimming rear mirror, and auto braking. If you want sat-nav go for the SRi Nav model, which is probably the best bet for private buyers, especially with its attractive finance deals.
On top of SRi trim, you get electrically folding mirrors, Powerflex bar, electronic handbrake, dual zone climate control, heated seats front and rear plus ergonomic sports seats. The extra equipment is tempting but it lacks the sporty looks of the SRi. It’s also a fair bit more expensive although this would be spread out on a finance package. If you want sat-nav you need to go for the Elite Nav upgrade.