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New Astra is completely different

 
Created on 12/10/2015 @ 19:38
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Graham Breeze test drives the new Astra

You might have to look closely to spot the difference but the Astra really is a completely different car and it arrives in Vauxhall showrooms this week.

At first glance the changes aren’t obvious but Vauxhall has been careful not to damage the look of a very successful that’s production has secured 2,000 jobs at the Ellesmere Port plant.

Astra has been one of the UK’s top-selling and best-loved cars, for a generation with almost three million sold in the UK over the last 36 years, including 50,000 in the last 12 months.

It’s an amazing fact that more than 25 per cent of British motorists have either owned or driven an Astra, so reaction to a new model will always be felt across the market.

And while the new arrival offers more space and better performance you’ll be surprised to find it costs less than the outgoing model with prices starting at £15,295. That’s £150 cheaper - and if you jump to the top of the range you could save as much as £2,200.

Picking which model to buy could prove harder than you think with Design, Tech Line, Energy, SRi and Elite as well as Nav versions of the SRi and Elite trims available.

Range highlights include the 1.0-litre three-cylinder Turbo Start/Stop ecoFLEX model priced from £15,995 on-the-road. With an Easytronic five-speed automatic transmission, the model achieves a class-leading 96g/km CO2 emissions. The range-topping 1.6-litre (200PS) is available in SRi trim priced from £20,435 on-the-road.

My personal favourite, and the model likely to attract the fleet market, is the 1.6-litre ‘Whisper Diesel’ (110PS) Start/Stop ecoFLEX priced at £17,495. Vauxhall claims amazing combined fuel figures of 91.1mpg and class-leading CO2 emissions of 82g/km.

It seems a no brainer to me not to go for this model though the brief test drive didn’t allow enough time to test those figures.

Astra produces such remarkable performance thanks to all-new lightweight vehicle architecture with a new powertrain and impressive technology levels and will compete head-on with Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf in a very competitive sector.

Depending on the model and trim level the new Astra is up to 200kg lighter than its predecessor thanks to new architecture with 50kg shaved from the weight of the chassis.

Lighter engines, exhaust systems, smaller wheels, smaller brakes and shiorter fronbt and rear overhangs all contribute to improving overall performance,.

The bosses at Vauxhall are keen to point out that this Astra is the first to feature OnStar, connectivity technology which is now available across Europe, featuring high-speed 4G LTE mobile network, emergency response notification and stolen vehicle recovery alert.

In simple speak that means you can talk to a Vauxhall dealer should you have an incident – though it’s doubtful that in many parts of Wales and the Borders you would always pick up a signal.

Astra also gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, through a new version of the IntelliLink infotainment system.

The 1.6 diesel was impressively quiet though there was some wind noise from both driver and passenger doors.

The Griffin in the centre of the chrome bar on the grille and the characteristic ‘blade’ rising towards the rear mean the new Astra is immediately recognisable and the most significant design change is the C-pillar, creating the impression of a floating roof.

This Astra might not catch your eye but it certainly deserves a closer look. Make no mistake the fleet buyers will be all over the Vauxhall showrooms this week. 

 

  

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