Sports Tourer 1.7 CDTi Exclusiv (110ps) ecoFLEX
Estate, Hello Sports
Tourer! For many years Vauxhalls
boxy-but-practical Astra estate
models provided faithful service
as solid workhorses. Now, in true
fairytale tradition, the Astra estate
has transformed into a handsome
lifestyle model that is smart
enough to take you to The Ball...
AT FIRST GLANCE you can easily be deceived into thinking that, like other brands'
'lifestyle' models, carrying capacity has been sacrificed on the alter
of good looks. Not so. The illusion of less is just that
an illusion; conjured up by some nifty styling around the tail that, combined
with the tapering glasshouse, creates a wraparound 'fastback' look.
But lift the wide, high-opening tailgate and you'll find that this smart new
4.7-metre long Astra with a 500-litre boot has more cargo space than the longer
and larger Insignia Estate: 1,550 litres versus the Insignia's 1,530. Okay,
so it's only 20 litres more but that's still more and a lot of
load space for a little lugger.
the easy-fold 60:40 split rear seats and you have a level loadbay floor easily
accessible thanks to a low rear sill also convenient to sit on
during family picnics.
and youll find that this
smart new 4.7-metre
long Astra has more
cargo space than
the longer and larger
1,550 litres versus the
Okay, so its
20 litres more but thats
and a lot of load space
for a little lugger...
The upright boot sides both have slim but nonetheless handy recessed cubbies
and there's some additional hidden storage space under the boot floor that even
a Revenue officer might find hard to spot lift up the stacking
three-section floor and you can access a 35" x 35" tray approximately
two inches deep with a strong three-position divider. Beneath lies a space-saver
More versatility can be added should you need it: a moulded heavy-duty loadbay
liner and Vauxhall's FlexOrganiser (a rail-mounted nets-and-dividers
system to keep loads safe and contained) are both available.
Like all the carrying features, the load-cover is also well considered: it can
retract, extend level or ride up with the tailgate for easier access to the
rear section of the boot. A first aid kit and warning triangle are also provided.
Even shutting the lid is easy for everyone (including the sinistral who walk
among us) thanks to a handle either side of the tailgate.
Climb aboard and the outer upmarket look is mirrored by an equally upmarket
feel. The cabin is pretty much a smaller version of what you'll find inside
the Astra's bigger brother, the Insignia. There's a wraparound fascia with faux
alloy trim on the traditional white-on-black dials, centre stack and steering
wheel; the switchgear feels good and it's all well laid-out and smartly assembled.
While there are a lot of switches and buttons on the centre stack, they are
grouped logically and their functions easy to recall. The optional SatNav (£835)
presents clear graphics and verbal directions are spoken in good time for the
driver to react.
It's roomy in the front and there's good headroom ever for taller drivers. A
good driving position is quickly set courtesy of comfy and supportive cloth-upholstered
seats, decent rake and reach adjustment of the multifunction (cruise and audio)
wheel, height adjustable driver's seat, and adjustable height front seatbelts.
And the headrests have large push-to-release buttons on the side to make up/down
adjustment easy far better than the fiddly, nail-breaking catches
you find on many other cars.
out is generally good although some drivers may find they need to get used to
the heavy A-pillars. On the move the cabin is a pleasant place to travel in
and is quiet and well insulated from both road and engine noise. An electrical
parking brake ensures good use can be made of the sliding centre front armrest;
it also cuts driver tasks as it releases automatically as you drive away.
also a hill-assist feature that makes driving off on a slope much easier and
the well-sited left footrest comes into its own when 'in the cruise'.
comes from a
108bhp 1.7-litre ecoFLEX
strong, fit for purpose
and fuel efficient:
the official figure is
62.8mpg on the
driving saw an average
The wipers, incidentally, wipe from the centre out and clear a large area of
the front screen not something the average buyer checks on a visit
to the showroom but definitely a 'plus' much appreciated during the UK's wetter
The 'quick-order' AirCon does a good line in both hot and cold air. Also welcome
is the (selectable) large digital mph readout in the driver's information centre.
Finally, there's a good supply of storage boxes and cubbies (including a fair-sized,
illuminated glovebox) peppered throughout the cabin; one is particularly intriguing
the sliding lidded bin behind the gear lever has a false floor
that folds back to provide extra depth; left down, it offers a safe haven underneath
for hiding away small valuable items such as a wallet.
Doors open wide and once in rear passengers also enjoy good knee, foot and headroom;
and three can fit in side-by-side although there's no centre armrest
to make it more comfortable for just two. There are net magazine pockets on
the front seatbacks. The rear seat is set low for the average
adult, this puts the door capping level at shoulder height which combined with
the 'sporty' glasshouse, means shallow rear windows.
Some passengers really liked the 'cosiness' this creates; others felt hemmed
in. So try before you buy. Also, in Exclusiv trim you only get wind-up rear
windows no real hardship but some PlayStation-generation youngsters
might be puzzled by them!
Core equipment on the £20,120 Exclusiv this is only the second
best of four specification levels (ES, Exclusiv, SRi, SE) includes
AirCon, daytime running lights, powered front windows (both one-shot auto up/down),
electrically-adjustable and heated door mirrors, cruise control, central locking,
radio/CD with MP3 and Aux-In, electric parking brake, drive-away automatic central
locking, multifunction steering wheel and 60:40 spilt rear folding seats.
there's a full set of airbags (front, front-side and full-size curtain), active-safety
front head restraints, Electronic Stability Programme, Vauxhall's comprehensive
100,000-mile lifetime warranty, roof rails and alloy wheels.
comes from a 108bhp 1.7-litre ecoFLEX turbodiesel that puts out a healthy 191lb
ft of torque from 1,700rpm. It's strong, fit for purpose and fuel efficient
the official figures are 62.8mpg on the combined cycle, 51.4 for
the urban and 72.4mpg extra-urban. Our week's real-life driving saw an average
Grip is good and it
and precise, cornering
steering well enough
to let you hold your
chosen line and thread
through bends smoothly
while carrying your
speed with you...
Seventy in top gear calls for an unstressed 2,000rpm on the rev-counter and
it feels as though it will cruise peacefully and tirelessly all day at the legal
limit. Emissions are a cost-cutting 119g/km which means you won't pay a penny
for your first year's road tax and then only £30 a year thereafter.
Also standard is a six-speed manual 'box and making the most of the six ratios
is no hardship because the change action is nicely positive. Acceleration from
standstill to 60mph takes 12.2 seconds and the top speed is a perfectly acceptable
Proof of the Sports Tourer pudding is how well it drives in spite of its load-lugging
capacity. Potential customers will be glad to learn that it's genuinely good
to drive thanks to a well-controlled body and a suspension set-up that's been
tuned specially for our second-rate roads.
Grip is good and it feels planted and precise, cornering steadfastly and steering
well enough to let you hold your chosen line and thread through bends smoothly
while carrying your speed with you. In other words, it's sharp enough to be
enjoyable tackling 'interesting' roads. Ride comfort is equally likeable
lumps and bumps are smoothed out without fuss.
There's much to recommend this practical and very likeable estate, sorry… Sports
Tourer: it's a good all-rounder both for work and family use; it also looks
smart and serves up reassuring handling plus low running costs, all made even
better by a comprehensive 100,000-mile lifetime warranty. A fine 'Griffin' for
the Family Guy!
Astra Sports Tourer 1.7 CDTi (110ps) Exclusiv ecoFLEX |
Maximum speed: 113mph | 0-60mph: 12.1 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 108bhp | Torque: 191lb ft | CO2 119g/km