Vauxhall Astra GTC: road test
This is a good-looking warm hatch that’s great to drive and good value, too.
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
A car that means business and delivers satisfying performance – certainly beyond our requirements. Quite simply, it’s great looking and good to drive. If you’re in the market for a more blistering turn of speed (and many are), then a VW Scirocco or a Ford Focus ST will deliver something more appropriate.
We drove the 1.6-litre (200PS) direct injection turbo-charged Astra on a variety of roads. Handling was supple and tight; road holding was excellent through several sets of Welsh bends. Stability Control was on hand as a safety aid, but at no point did we ever come close to the limits of the car’s capability. The firm ride seemed just right.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
The three-door Astra is fine in the front and spacious in the back. Headroom is surprisingly good.
No issues here. The GTC scored the maximum five stars in recent Euro NCAP testing (the adult occupant score was 91%). There’s the usual line-up of airbags (front, curtain and side impact) to help cushion the blow if you’re involved in a collision. Stability control is standard on all models.
On the inside, the criticism is that there’s too much equipment. Lots of dials and buttons, many of them too small for our liking. Choose Sport trim and you get air-conditioning as standard, along with digital (DAB) radio and alloy wheels. The more expensive SRi specification includes automatic windscreen wipers and lights, as well as xenon headlamps.
Vauxhall claims a combined economy of 42.2mph. Even with my light right foot, the computer showed I couldn’t even manage 30. Ouch.
This Astra is a ‘warm hatch’ that’s great to drive.
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds
Economy: 39.2mpg combined
Insurance: Group 25
Tax: Band H (£205)