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Astra's growing reputation

 
Created on 09/07/2017 @ 09:28
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

When Vauxhall revealed the new Astra last year I wasn’t convinced they had done enough but the model has really put the company back in business.

The new Astra has helped Vauxhall remain a major player in one of the toughest of motoring sectors and the trophy cabinet at the Luton headquarters is bulging with industry awards as sales targets continue to be smashed.

 Experts have been recognising the seventh generation Astra’s versatility, value for money and use of new technology – traits that were very obvious on the Sri Nav 1.4 Turbo 150PS model in five-speed manual format recently put through its paces.

The latest arrival is anything but a simple revamp of the predecessor. The car is built on a completely new platform and while you might say it’s still instantly recognisable from the outside just opening the driver’s door reveals a completely fresh approach.

The overall quality feels instantly better and great attention has been made to improving the dash appearance, which is now much easier to navigate with a better quality central touchscreen and easy-to-find controls which simply feel stronger.

Ride quality has been improved too with little road or wind noise detected and all the grip you need in those tight cornering situations which will please the company car driver – Vauxhall’s key target in this sector.

It’s a practical option too, with a huge boot and comfort and space to seat five of the tallest occupants. That means there’s plenty to back up Vauxhall’s claim that Astra is one of the best family cars on the market.

The 1.4 test car would set you back £20,675 but LED headlights, a power flex bar, smartphone holder, Winter pack, tinted rear windows and electronic climate control pushed that up to £22,830.

For that money you get a top speed of 134mph, 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds and combined fuel figures of 51.4mpg. CO2 emissions are recorded at 128 g/km, helping this Astra slot into a 16E insurance grouping.

The list of standard features is very impressive for a model at this level.

You get 17inch, five-spoke alloys, a rear spoiler, chrome effect window trim, front fogs, reach and rake adjustable steering column, leather steering wheel, sports style front seats, an adjustable front armrest, rain sensitive wipers and automatic lighting with tunnel detection.

There’s a multi-function computer, electric windows all-round, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitoring, remote central locking, sport switch along with ESP and ABS braking support.

Vauxhall has majored on safety aspects with ISOFIX child seat restraints, height-adjustable head restraints in fromt and back, engine deadlocking, OnStar personal connectivity to a Vauxhall dealership and a driver assistance pack with an intelligent forward camera system, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, following distance indicator and city emergency braking.

You get a fully integrated European sat-nav system, DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB connection and a six-speaker system.

After a week behind the wheel it’s easy to see why this Vauxhall is proving a popular option for both the family and company car driver. The Astra really is here to stay.

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