Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Vauxhall Astra undercuts the Volkswagen Golf by a big margin and generally has lower brochure prices than the Ford Focus. Big discounts are available if you’re prepared to haggle (and without that aggro if you visit our deals section), although it’s important to note that the Astra will lose value faster than many of its rivals.
As a company car, the Astra makes heaps of sense. Official emission levels are impressively low; 103bhp diesel models equipped with a manual gearbox emit just 90g/km of CO2, only increasing to 92g/km with the more powerful 120bhp engine. The diesel engines are compliant with the latest RDE2 emissions tests, too, so there’s no 4% surcharge in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. Even the petrol engines pump out from as little as 99g/km.
PCP finance deals are usually competitive, especially when a hefty deposit contribution is available, although an equivalent version of the rival Skoda Scala could be available for even smaller monthly payments.
Equipment, options and extras
Entry-level SE is worth considering. It gives you 16in alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control and all the infotainment equipment we discussed earlier.
We reckon SRi trim makes the most sense for most buyers, though. It adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, tinted rear windows, LED headlights and the more supportive sports seats that we mentioned in the interior section. You also get larger (17in) wheels.
Elite Nav adds heated leather seats (front and rear), a heated steering wheel and climate control. However, this and range-topping Ultimate Nav trim (which comes with even more luxuries) are too pricey for us to recommend – unless you’re getting a substantial discount.
The Astra was performed poorly in the family cars category of our 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey where it finished 19th out of 24. The Skoda Octavia (particularly the petrol version), Ford Focus and petrol Volkswagen Golf were all reported to be much more dependable, although it beat the diesel Golf by a hefty margin..
Like all Vauxhalls, the Astra comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty and a year’s 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 offered by Kia.
Safety and security
Disappointingly, the two entry-level trims (SE and Business Edition Nav) don’t come with automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard. This important safety equipment is included on more expensive trim levels, though, and the Astra's system can recognise pedestrians as well as vehicles.
Meanwhile, blindspot monitoring is standard only on range-topping Ultimate Nav trim, although it is optional (as part of the Parking Pack mentioned earlier) on the cheaper trim levels. The Astra was appraised for safety by Euro NCAP back in 2015, but the organisation’s tests are far more stringent these days, making direct comparison with more modern rivals impossible.
SE and Business Edition Nav trims don’t have an alarm as standard, so they didn’t score particularly high marks in Thatcham’s security tests.
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