Astra Sports Tourer Tech Line 1.6 CDTi 110PS ecoFLEX
Brits love our estate cars and
new Astra Sports
Tourer has won a fistful of best
awards including European
Car of the Year, is it the one we
should all be rushing out to buy?
ACTUALLY, IN THE SPORT TOURER'S CASE, a week in the hands of MotorBar's
experienced testers has confirmed that on this occasion you can safely trust
the informed vote.
Built in Britain 'Up north' at Ellesmere Port the Astra 'ST' is
essentially one of Vauxhall's new 'European Car of the Year' Astra hatchbacks
clothed in an athletic 'touring' bodyshell that has avoided any hint of traditional
wagon 'boxiness'. Indeed it looks every inch the sporty thoroughbred. But it
will still seat five in its roomy cabin while carrying 540 litres of their luggage
in its boot.
And when the time comes for some full-on load-lugging, it steps up to offer
an impressive and accommodating 1,630-litre, totally level-floored loadbay.
Great for business or pleasure, buggies or bikes, or even a brace of Briards.
ability to carry big loads calls for ample power under the bonnet and this is
ably provided by the 108bhp 1.6 ecoFLEX turbodiesel on duty in the engine bay.
Of course, being a Vauxhall there's a big range of petrol and diesel powerplants
to choose from ranging between 98 and 197bhp.
choice for many
with an eye on the
running costs will be the
1.6 CDTi ecoFLEX diesel
unit as reviewed here
emissions of just 92g/km
and a real-life 60.4mpg
recorded by us during a
weeks hard driving...
First choice for many with an eye on the running costs will be the 1.6 CDTi
ecoFLEX diesel unit, as reviewed here, with tax-avoiding emissions of just 92g/km
and an official EU fuel consumption rated at 80.7mpg, although in real-life
expect to see the still excellent 60.4mpg we recorded during a week's hard driving.
And with a 10.5-gallon tank, that's getting on for a convenient 600 miles between
Choosing economy no longer punishes you when it comes to performance
the ecoFLEX's 108bhp is backed up by a hefty wedge of torque that gets the Sports
Tourer off the line and to the benchmark 60mph in 10.6 seconds; after that it
will run on to 121mph. More importantly, that 221lb ft of tractable torque is
crucial to in-gear flexibility and smooth running, particularly when you're
making full use of the 1,630-litre cargo bay or all five seats.
These latest-generation turbodiesels from Vauxhall are eager but quiet, well-mannered
units, pulling cleanly up to the redline without any of the gruffness usually
associated with oil-burners; pick-up in the higher gears is also good and motorways
can be cruised at a relaxing gait. In other words, you'll stay relaxed keeping
up with traffic, and remain unruffled when there's overtaking to be done. The
manual gearbox is a six-speeder with a light change action that won't leave
Since the Sports Tourer shares its underpinnings with the Astra hatch, you know
that the ST won't be backing off at the first sharp corner you happen to hustle
into. And it doesn't especially if you're travelling solo or have just
a single passenger riding shotgun.
believes in carrying out its chassis development for UK cars on UK roads
the results can be experienced behind the wheel of the Sports Tourer: you'll
like the feeling of being reassuringly planted, and it goes where you point
it without any drama. Which brings us back to that first corner the precise
steering turns it in neatly and its underlying cornering balance will see you
tidily through the apex and away.
Vauxhall are eager but
units, pulling cleanly up
to the redline without
any of the gruffness
usually associated with
pick-up in the higher
gears is also good and
motorways can be cruised at a relaxing
Overall it handles far better that you might have been expecting of an estate
car and all that a family workhorse implies. Push on past its comfort zone and
there's no sudden smack on the wrist just a progressive move to understeer
that won't disturb your sleeping passengers or the Briards nodding in the boot.
All the while, watching your back so to speak, is a competent stability and
traction control system.
Overall it's an easy driver too, thanks to light controls and a willingness
to change direction readily that make it as fluent to punt around the houses
as it is easygoing on the open road, where its well-damped suspension and consistent
grip keep it reliably predictable. The brakes, while seeming a tad sensitive
on first acquaintance, are more than capable of scrubbing speed both smoothly
in town and promptly when the need arises.
As you might expect of a wagon that will be expected to cope with some heavy-duty
haulin', the ride is a tad on the firm side although that doesn't stop
there being a decent degree of comfort as bad blacktop is managed well. Our
ST rode well on its optional 17-inch 10-spoke alloys and even eighteen-inch-wheeled
Sports Tourers we've driven retain the Astra's ride integrity so if big
rims are your thing, option away.
Like your bed, the driver's seat will be in close contact with your body for
a long time during ownership, so the importance of getting a good 'un can't
be over-emphasised. Fortunately the well-shaped, pleasantly firm chairs in the
Sports Tourer provide the essential support, particularly on long journeys;
and upholstered in a smart fabric they'll be warm in the winter and won't heat
up like leather on hot summer days.
the perfect personal driving position is quickly done; once set the driver enjoys
good visibility all round so parking up is easy even without the optional (£405)
front and rear parking sensors.
it an agreeable
car to live with isnt
just down to the
plentiful cabin storage
but to the slim,
logically laid-out dash
switchgear. At its centre
sits a large touchscreen
thats ground zero
for the infotainment,
A decent seat is one thing; personal space is another. And the ST delivers here
too, with amazingly good headroom as well as shoulder and elbow room. The central
armrest can be extended forwards (but doesn't cramp the trad handbrake) and
the outer armrests on the doors are very usable.
More good news: the dials are clear with unbeatable white-on-black figures,
as are those displayed on the driver's information screen between them (including
the digital speed read-out). And the three-spoke multifunction wheel (cruise,
voice, driver's information centre, audio) is good-to-hold with a meaty leather
Making it an agreeable car to live with isn't just down to the plentiful cabin
storage (deep bottle-holding door bins and cubbies, trays and cupholders) but
to the slim, logically laid-out dash with minimised switchgear. At its centre
sits a large (8-inch) touchscreen that's ground zero for the infotainment, navigation
and connectivity systems.
The automatic AirCon controls are located below the screen, separated from it
by a slim strip of hardwired shortcut buttons for a quick jump to the most important
functions. Vauxhall's OnStar personal connectivity and mobility assistant is
a £405 option and almost impossible not to specify given that
it comes with a brilliant 4G Wi-Fi hotspot as well as an SOS emergency hotline
plus more everyday help such as downloading a destination to the navigation
Tech Line models come with all the essentials including Comfort front seats,
auto AirCon, cruise control with speed limiter, front and rear powered windows
(all four are one-shot up/down), electrically-adjustable & heated door mirrors,
8-inch infotainment touchscreen with SatNav, Bluetooth, Vauxhall's IntelliLink
connectivity system (Apple CarPlay, smartphone projection and voice recognition),
a six-speaker sound system with DAB tuner, multifunction leather-wrapped steering
wheel, multifunction driver's trip computer, and automatic lighting control.
you get drive-off auto door locking, tyre pressure monitoring, a complete set
of airbags (driver's and front passenger's, front seat side-impact airbags,
and full-size curtain airbags). Externally there are LED daytime running lights,
a rear spoiler, black roof rails, and 16-inch alloy wheels, plus driver aids
such as a Stability Programme (ESP) and Hill Start assist.
standout feature of
the rear cabin is the very
a key feel-good factor
when travelling in the
back of any car.
And its something that
makes the STs truly
spacious rear cabin
genuinely suitable for
You also get bags of
knee-room and legs can
be properly stretched...
standout feature of the rear cabin is the very generous headroom a key
'feel-good' factor when travelling in the back of any car. And it's something
that makes the ST's truly spacious rear cabin genuinely suitable for family-car
duties. You also get bags of knee-room and legs can be properly stretched. Two
adults will be very much at ease; alternatively, three children will fit without
territorial disputes erupting.
The long side windows ensure interesting views out and, unusually, even the
Astra's rear door bins will hold a bottle. Those with smaller children will
be pleased to know that ISOFIX child seat fixtures are fitted to the outer rear
Commodious enough to rival Ford and Volkswagen estates, the Sport Touring's
540-litre boot is easily accessed through the high-opening tailgate's large,
wide opening. An all-of-a-level loading sill/boot floor makes exploiting the
full loadbay's straight-sided 1,630-litre cargo hold (with the 60:40-split rear
seats folded down) an untaxing and hassle-free job.
You'll also find more storage space beneath the floor that's easily accessed
as the rearmost section of the boot floor lifts. A nice touch is the dedicated
space for the luggage roller blind under the boot floor when you've loaded above
the window line.
Fairly priced, roomy, comfortable, and with 60mpg economy and spiffing good
looks, the Astra Sports Tourer offers a hard-to-beat mix of features for family
drivers with a need for space. ~ MotorBar
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Tech Line 1.6 CDTi 110PS ecoFLEX
Maximum speed: 121mph | 0-60mph: 10.6 seconds | Test Average: 60.4mpg
Power: 108bhp | Torque: 221lb ft | CO2: 92g/km