The Vauxhall Astra has been updated with minor styling tweaks, but there are big changes under the bonnet
Vauxhall has facelifted the Astra, equipping its refreshed Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Mazda 3 rival with a line-up of new petrol and diesel turbocharged engines, a minor new look which the firm claims is more aerodynamic, plus chassis revisions and updated technology.
You’ll struggle to spot what’s new design-wise on the latest Astra. The interior does not change, while the only real difference outside is up front, where new upper and lower grille designs contribute towards a slightly more aerodynamic profile.
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As a product born during Vauxhall’s time under General Motors ownership, the engine under the metal do not come from new owner Peugeot-Citroen Group (PSA).
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Petrol power now comes exclusively from turbocharged three-cylinder units developed by Opel at Russelheim. Though the 1.2-litre engine is the same capacity as PSA’s mass production petrol engine it is not the same, and the 1.4-litre is a new Opel development too. The 1.2-litre is offered in three states of tune, each mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The base version develops 108bhp and 195Nm torque, with 128bhp and 143bhp options sitting above it.
Fuel figures for the two bookends have not been announced yet, but Vauxhall claims that the 128bhp version – likely to be the biggest seller – is capable of 51.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 127g/km under WLTP. Torque is delivered specifically low down the rev band, from between 2,000 and 3,500rpm.
Like the most powerful 1.2-litre petrol, the 1.4-litre car also develops 143bhp, but torque creeps up to 236Nm and a CVT transmission with seven ‘false-ratios’ is fitted by default. Maximum torque is available from 1,500rpm.
Diesel power is three-cylinder exclusively as well. A new 1.5-litre diesel engine with electronic turbocharging has arrived developing 104bhp and 260Nm in its most basic state of tune, linked to a six-speed manual gearbox. A more powerful, 120bhp and 300Nm version of the engine is also available, which Vauxhall claims is capable of 60.1mpg and 124g/km CO2 under WLTP. This engine is available optionally with the freshly developed nine-speed automatic gearbox, which sees torque drop to 285Nm and results in a slight hit to fuel economy too.
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New shock absorbers have been fitted, and Vauxhall claims that the Astra now rides better than before.
Technology updates include the arrival of a new digital front camera, which is smaller but more powerful than the one equipped on the pre-facelift car thanks to new processors. Vauxhall claims that the new higher-grade camera helps to improve the Astra’s traffic sign recognition system. Similarly, the car’s rear-view camera system has been updated to the new standard.
Elsewhere, the multimedia system has been treated to an interface redesign and Vauxhall says it’s more intuitive to use than before. The instrument cluster has been transformed and is now digitalised. A wireless charging pad for compatible smartphones can be optioned on selected models and a new Bose sound-system can be fitted too, alongside – for the first time – a heated windscreen.
Prices for the revised Astra have not been revealed, but only a minor premium over the outgoing car should be expected. It goes on sale in the UK in August, with first deliveries scheduled for November.
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