What's the used Vauxhall Astra hatchback like?
The Vauxhall hallmarks of mass-market appeal, ease of use and good value are all present and correct in the Astra. And while there are a number of areas where it could be improved, particularly when you consider the commensurate talents of its rivals, for the money the Astra manages to be a respectable used purchase.
The interior is nicely styled and offers plenty of space. While it perhaps offers not as much in the rear as rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf, it still has a decent amount of room upfront. Those front seats also have plenty of adjustment, especially if the car has sports seats fitted. There are, however, a few too many buttons on the dashboard, which means the infotainment isn’t quite as easy to use as rival systems. It’s also quite dark inside, with thick windscreen pillars blocking the light coming in and obscuring your view.
Where the Astra lets down is the driving experience, as it simply isn’t a patch on the Golf, let alone the scintillating Ford Focus. Vauxhall fitted a more advanced rear suspension to this generation of Astra, but the car still doesn’t outhandle its contemporaries. The ride, at least, is comfortable. In short, the Astra is tuned to cope well with potholes and speed bumps rather than to become a B-road hack.
This is a shame, considering the vast range of engines and specifications the Astra is offered with. Most are economical diesel and petrols, but there is a high-performance twin-turbo diesel or a road-burning 276bhp VXR hot hatch if you fancy it.