1 / 10
- Launched: 2022
- Family hatch
- Petrol, Diesel, PHEV, EV
- New Vauxhall Astra represents good value for money with generous equipment lists
- Bold exterior and interior design with more personality than ever before
- Wide range of engines including petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric power
- Not as spacious as many rivals
- Pretty average to drive
- The interior isn't as plush as a Peugeot 308's
On the inside
Cost to run
Prices and Specs
Overall verdict on the Vauxhall Astra
"Brown bread. Milky tea. Hollyoaks. The Vauxhall Astra is a household name synonymous with the humdrum. But not anymore. It's been zhuzhed up under the watch of Vauxhall's new owners Stellantis, including a new platform shared with the Peugeot 308 and a bold front-end similar to that on the latest Vauxhall Mokka."
It's about the time the Vauxhall Astra was given a fighting chance against family hatchback stalwarts like the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Corolla. And, as well as bold new looks, the new Astra has an ace up its sleeve in the form of an engine to suit every buyer – including petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid power. There's even a pure-electric Vauxhall Astra-e on its way.
One significant change in the new Vauxhall Astra is the simplification of the model line-up. Previously, there were endless trim levels available. Now there are just three: Design, GS Line and Ultimate.
An entry-level Vauxhall Astra in the past was a pretty grim affair, with solid paint and steel wheels. The kind of thing you might be unlucky enough to land as a company car if your fleet manager didn't really like you. But today, even the most affordable Astra is a perfectly pleasant car. The Vauxhall Astra Design comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch navigation system, LED headlights, parking sensors (for the front and rear), cruise control and automatic wipers.
The majority of buyers are expected to go for the mid-spec Vauxhall Astra GS Line. This is the one you'll see the most of on the second-hand market if you're reading this a year or two down the line. Standard equipment includes black exterior highlights, 17-ich alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control and fancy ambient interior lighting.
If you want a posh Vauxhall Astra, the Ultimate model is as near as you're going to get. This is identified by its 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and panoramic sunroof, while inside you get wireless phone charging, a head-up display, Alcantara seats and a 360-degree panoramic parking camera.
If you really want an upmarket hatch, you might be better looking at the new Peugeot 308. While the Astra's cabin is a lot more interesting to look at than before, there are still quite a few hard finishes. It's pretty mediocre in the practicality stakes, too, although the front seats are comfortable and there is an estate version (badged the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer) on its way.
In terms of engines, the 1.2-litre petrol is likely to be the sweet spot in the 2022 Vauxhall Astra range. It's the same 1.2 turbo as you'll find in various Stellantis models from the Citroen C3 to the DS 7 Crossback. In the Astra, it's available in entry-level 110PS form, but most will go for the 130PS version. This is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Another significant change to the Astra is the introduction of a plug-in hybrid, badged the Vauxhall Astra e-Hybrid. This can be charged in less than two hours and will provide an electric range of up to 43 miles. That's not impressive compared to a pure-EV, but it's enough for popping to the shops or taking the kids to school. Once it's out of juice, the 1.6-litre petrol engine is on hand for those longer journeys.
The Vauxhall Astra is easy to drive, while there's a long list of driver-assistance technology on hand to keep you safe. You might not enjoy driving it as much as a Mazda 3 or SEAT Leon, but it's safe and reassuring in the way it goes about its business. Our early impressions suggest it's also extremely comfortable – even those with larger alloy wheels glide effortlessly over poor road surfaces.
If you're looking for the older model, you need our 2015 Vauxhall Astra review.
Is the Vauxhall Astra right for you?
You'll never go wrong buying a Vauxhall Astra, and the latest model has more personality than ever before. It should be cheap to run, while the slim-lined model line-up makes hunting out a nearly-new bargain easier than before. A Peugeot 308 is a little nicer inside, while the Ford Focus and SEAT Leon are more enjoyable to drive, but the Vauxhall Astra is a strong all-rounder.
What’s the best Vauxhall Astra model/engine to choose?
Even the entry-level Vauxhall Astra Design is pretty well kitted out so, if you're on a budget, don't feel like you're being tight by not stretching to more expensive models. That said, the majority of buyers are expected to opt for the mid-level Astra GS Line, and it probably is worth the extra cash (roughly £30/month on a PCP) for things like the 360-degree panoramic parking camera, adaptive cruise control and heated front seats.
In terms of engines, we wouldn't recommend the out-of-favour diesel unless you really do cover a lot of motorway miles. The 1.2-litre 130PS petrol will be ideal for a lot of buyers, and we reckon it's worth hunting out one with an automatic gearbox. As good as the plug-in hybrid Vauxhall Astra Hybrid-e is, it probably isn't worth the cash for private buyers.
What other cars are similar to the Vauxhall Astra?
If you're considering the latest Vauxhall Astra, you might also want to look at the new Peugeot 308. It's mechanically very similar to the Astra but takes a slightly more upmarket approach. Otherwise, it's the same list of rivals as the Astra's predecessors: cars like the Ford Focus, SEAT Leon, Volkswagen Golf and so on. You may also wish to consider similarly-sized SUVs... cars like the Vauxhall Grandland, Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq.
Comfort and design: Vauxhall Astra interior
"Vauxhall uses the word 'detox' a lot to describe the Astra's interior. It's not quite as minimalist as that suggests (there are buttons peppered across the steering wheel and below the infotainment system), but it's more stylish than we're used to in a Vauxhall Astra."
It looks similar to the cabin of the latest Vauxhall Mokka, thanks largely to the twin-screen Pure Panel display (more on that below). You get a central infotainment system angled slightly towards the driver, while the centre console houses buttons for the drive modes and an electronic parking brake.
Getting comfortable shouldn't be a problem, thanks to the AGR-approved seats that are standard on Vauxhall Astra GS Line and Ultimate models. AGR is the German association for healthier backs, which means you can be pretty confident that you won't have too many aches and pains after a long journey in the Astra.
Quality and finish
If there's one area in which the Vauxhall Astra differentiates itself significantly from the closely-related Peugeot 308, it's the perceived quality of the interior. It'd probably be a little mean to describe the Astra as 'downmarket', but there are certainly quite a few harsh plastics and flimsy finishes. On the plus side, these should deflect muddy trainers and sticky fingers well – and that kinda thing is important in a family car.
Infotainment: Touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Vauxhall Astra
All Vauxhall Astra models come with a 10-inch infotainment system alongside a 10-inch digital instrument cluster. This is the same Pure Panel setup that we first saw on the latest Vauxhall Mokka, spreading across from the centre of the dash to behind the steering wheel. It looks minimalist, while there's a useful ledge for resting your fingers when using the touchscreen, as well as buttons for the climate control.
It's all rather intuitive, although some of the graphics on both the navigation system and digital instrument cluster aren't the slickest. The navigation on our test drive in Portugal seemed to have a mind of its own, too, although you can get around that by using Google Maps instead. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
Space and practicality: Vauxhall Astra boot space
The new Vauxhall Astra is 4374mm long and 1860mm wide, making it a whole 4mm longer than before. That's not going to make a huge difference in the real world but a 13mm increase in wheelbase (that's the distance between the front and rear wheels) might be a little more noticeable.
There's certainly plenty of space in the front, where you'll find it easy to get a comfortable seating position. You get a handy storage area within the central armrest, as well as cup holders in the centre console and a tray for storing your phone.
Things aren't quite so good in the back, where adults will feel a little cramped (especially in the top-spec Vauxhall Astra Ultimate with its panoramic sunroof reducing headroom). It'll be adequate for children (or teenagers at a push), but if you're regularly transporting people in the back you might want to look at an SUV alternative like the Vauxhall Grandland instead.
In terms of boot space, the Vauxhall Astra can take 367 litres of luggage, dropping to 305 litres in the Astra Hybrid-e. That's slightly less than you'll get in a Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon or Ford Focus, while the Skoda Octavia hatch can manage a huge 600 litres. You can always drop the rear seats to provide up to 1182 litres of luggage, though (1122 litres in the PHEV), while the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer estate caters for those with a need for a bit more space.
Handling and ride quality: What is the Vauxhall Astra like to drive?
"Just like previous generations of Vauxhall Astra, the latest model doesn't feel as agile as a Ford Focus or SEAT Leon. It's easy to drive, though, and there's plenty of driver-assistance tech on hand to act as a second pair of eyes."
The Vauxhall Astra has been set up deliberately soft. It's not quite as compliant as the Citroen C5 Aircross SUV (with which it shares a platform), but you're not going to get twitchy at the sight of a pothole-strewed road.
The plug-in Astra Hybrid-e does feel noticeably firmer – the weight of the batteries comes to light on uneven road surfaces as well as a significant rumble with the 18-inch alloy wheels (fitted as standard on the Astra Ultimate).
The light steering makes the Vauxhall Astra feel nimble in town, but doesn't provide a lot of reassurance on open roads. You can select sport mode to add some extra heft, but it's never going to be as enjoyable to drive as a Mazda 3. That's never been the Astra's forte, though, and we can confirm that it starts, steers and stops in a perfectly acceptable manner.
What engines and gearboxes are available in the Vauxhall Astra?
The Vauxhall Astra is available with an extensive engine line-up that caters for every buyer. This includes petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and – soon – pure-electric power.
Don't be overwhelmed by the choice on offer, though. The majority of buyers will be best buying a petrol Vauxhall Astra. This is a 1.2-litre petrol engine. That might sound small but as it's a turbocharged unit, it's just as powerful as larger engines sold in older models. You can get the entry-level Vauxhall Astra Design with a 110PS version of this engine but, unless you're really on a budget (or perhaps a new driver with an eye on insurance), we'd recommend the 130PS model. This is sold with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox.
We've sampled the 130PS 1.2 petrol with the manual transmission and it's lively enough, with enough grunt to prevent too many unwanted gear changes. That's good news as there's not much going for the manual transmission – it's a bit soggy to use and nowhere near as precise as you'll find in a Ford Focus or Mazda 3. It's quite telling the new Peugeot 308 is only available with an automatic gearbox.
If you spend all your day covering the lengths and breadths of the UK motorway network, you might be better looking for a diesel. This is a 1.5-litre turbodiesel, again producing 130PS and available with a manual or automatic gearbox. It feels gruntier than the petrol, thanks to its 300Nm torque figure, but economy-minded buyers might be better looking at the plug-in hybrid.
This is badged the Vauxhall Astra Hybrid-e. It combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to provide a combined output of 180PS and 360Nm torque. If that's not enough, a more powerful version with a total output of 225PS is set to follow.
Frankly, we reckon the 180PS Astra Hybrid-e will be more than sufficient for a lot of buyers. It's eager off the line, while it's capable of travelling up to 43 miles before the petrol engine kicks in. It can travel at up to 84mph in fully-electric mode, too, so you're not exactly limited to town use under electric power.
Refinement and noise levels
Vauxhall's benchmarked cars like the Volkswagen Golf when developing the new Astra and generally it's quiet and refined, with even the diesel and three-cylinder petrol settling down nicely once up to temperature. The latter has a distinctive burble when you're accelerating harshly, but so has every other small petrol engine used in rival cars. We did notice a bit of wind noise at motorway speeds in our test car, but nothing that can't be drowned out by the radio.
Obviously, as it's capable of engine-off running, the Vauxhall Astra Hybrid-e is the most refined around town. For the ultimate in refinement, though, wait for the pure-electric Vauxhall Astra-e.
Safety equipment: How safe is the Vauxhall Astra?
The latest Vauxhall Astra comes packed with cameras, radars and sensors designed to help keep you safe on the road. The level of driver-assistance tech you get depends on how much you're willing to spend, but all models come with an automatic emergency braking system at low speeds (with pedestrian detection), a driver drowsiness alert and lane departure warning with lane keep assist.
The mid-spec Vauxhall Astra GS Line upgrades the forward collision alert system to work at all speeds and adds a traffic sign recognition system and 360-degree parking camera. The top-spec Vauxhall Astra Ultimate comes with the full suite of safety tech, including a rear cross traffic alert system (which'll notify you of approaching traffic when reversing out of a space) and a lane change assist function.
The new Vauxhall Astra has now been crash-tested by Euro NCAP and awarded a less-than-perfect four stars out of five. NCAP criticised its autonomous emergency braking system, which it says "performed only marginally" in response to other cars or pedestrians.
MPG and fuel costs: What does a Vauxhall Astra cost to run?
"Running costs should be pretty low, no matter which Vauxhall Astra you buy. The diesel will perhaps be the most efficient in the real world (officially it'll return up to 64.2mpg) but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best choice for every buyer."
The plug-in hybrid Vauxhall Astra Hybrid-e can officially travel up to 43 miles before the petrol engine kicks in. This will be slightly less in the real world but, if you have a short commute or cover a lot of short journeys, it could be a very efficient choice. Just be conscious that it'll be a lot less efficient without regular charging or if used for long journeys.
A 1.2-litre petrol Vauxhall Astra will return up to 51.3mpg while buying one with the auto gearbox sees this drop to 50.4mpg.
How reliable is the Vauxhall Astra?
Vauxhall doesn't tend to perform particularly well in terms of reliability, ranking third from bottom in the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index. That said, this will reflect older Vauxhall models built under General Motors ownership – the new Astra is more of a Stellantis product, meaning it shares parts with the new Peugeot 308 and DS 4. Time will tell how reliable these will be.
Insurance groups and costs
Although insurance groups for the new Vauxhall Astra are yet to be confirmed, most models have been provisionally placed into group 17 or 18. The plug-in hybrid is likely to be the most expensive to insure.
VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on a Vauxhall Astra?
You'll pay a flat rate of £165 a year to tax a Vauxhall Astra, or £155/year for the Astra Hybrid-e. Looking for free road tax? You'll need to wait for the all-electric Vauxhall Astra-e.
How much should you be paying for a used Vauxhall Astra?
"The new Vauxhall Astra is priced from around £24,500 – that's a slightly higher start price than a Ford Focus or Skoda Octavia, yet it undercuts the Volkswagen Golf and new Peugeot 308."
You'll pay your local Vauxhall dealership a little over £27,000 for a mid-spec Astra GS Line with the 1.2 petrol engine, while the top-spec Ultimate model starts from around £30,000. The range currently tops out at around £36,000 for a Vauxhall Astra Ultimate Plug-in Hybrid-e, while prices for the upcoming electric Astra-e are yet to be confirmed.
There are usually some attractive deals on new Vauxhall models and we're already seeing some strong pre-reg discounts. How does £1000 off a brand new Vauxhall Astra Design take your fancy, or £1500 off a GS Line? If you're not fussed about picking your own colour or options, there are cars in dealerships now ready to go with hefty savings off the list price.
Trim levels and standard equipment
Refreshingly for anyone who's battled with a brochure for older Vauxhall models, the new Astra is available in just three trim levels. The range kicks off with the Vauxhall Astra Design, which feels far from basic in terms of spec.
Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch navigation system (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), a 10-inch digital instrument cluster and a whole host of safety kit. This includes lane departure warning with lane keep assist, speed sign recognition, driver drowsiness alert, forward collision alert (low speed), automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and cruise control with intelligent speed adaption. Front and rear parking sensors are standard too, as well as keyless start, an electronic parking brake and LED headlights/tail lights.
The majority of buyers are expected to go for the Vauxhall Astra GS Line. Standard equipment on this includes 17-inch black alloy wheels, black exterior highlights, forward collision alert (all speeds) and a 360-degree parking camera. It also gets adaptive cruise control, keyless entry/start, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and dual-zone electronic climate control.
Topping the range, the Vauxhall Astra Ultimate comes with 18-inch grey diamond-cut alloy wheels, adaptive LED pixel headlights, a head-up display and a wireless phone charger. There's lane change assist, blind spot alert, lane positioning assist and rear cross traffic alert. Finally, the Vauxhall Astra Ultimate comes with Alcantara interior seat trim.
Ask the heycar experts: common questions
Is the Vauxhall Astra a good car?
You can't really go wrong buying a used Vauxhall Astra. It's a very sensible choice that offers good value for money, although rivals like the Peugeot 308 and Volkswagen Golf are slightly better finished.
Which Vauxhall Astra engine is best?
The 1.2-litre petrol will suit a lot of Vauxhall Astra buyers, although the diesel could be a good option if you cover a lot of miles. Alternatively, there's the plug-in hybrid Astra Hybrid-e with its 35-mile range.
Can you buy a Vauxhall Astra estate?
Orders are now open for the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer ahead of deliveries from late 2022. It shares the Vizor front end design of the Vauxhall Astra hatchback and is available with petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid power.
Vauxhall Astra cars for sale on heycar