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Driven: Astra 2.0-litre TDI 160bhp ecoFlex

BIK List Price
Vauxhall Astra BIK list price
BIK Percentage
Vauxhall Astra BIK Percent
Vauxhall Astra CO2
Combined MPG
Vauxhall Astra MPG


The Insignia was the car that set Vauxhall on its new course of focusing on quality; the Astra helped to maintain that course in preparation for the series of new mode launches over the next 18 months that will lift the brand into new territories.

Having spent a week in the Astra 2.0-litre TDI 160bhp, it’s my opinion that it is this car that is paving the way for the future model launches: the interior quality, the soft touch buttons, the driveability – all are a noticeable and sizeable step forward for Vauxhall.

This car is simply a joy to drive. The steering is perfectly weighted and laser accurate, effortlessly dispatching winding B-roads; the diesel engine is eager to please and, despite some roughness at higher revs, generally refined. On motorway hauls, the comfort of the chassis and supportive seats help the miles to fly by.

Big ticks, so far. It’s not all good news for the Astra, however. The stop-start system feels like old technology; it takes too long to re-start and you can hear the alternator turning over in contrast to competitor systems were their instantaneous, near silent re-starts.

Stop-start, part of the EcoFlex technology, helps to elevate the official fuel consumption figures to 62.8mpg. We got nowhere near that figure with most journeys ending in the mid-to-high 40s. Even some particularly conservative driving struggled to get mpg much into the 50s.

This electronic braking system has automatic release as you pull away, but it seems to help just a fraction too long at times, which is a bit disconcerting – certainly the P light takes a few seconds to dim.

Inside, the materials used in the instrument panels and door surrounds is excellent quality. But the dashboard resembles an aircraft cockpit with its jumble of buttons (again, all soft touch, high quality) seemingly sprayed at random below the sat-nav screen.

But the biggest issue with this model is the price - £23,135. This is deep into Golf territory (the 2.0-litre TDI 140 Bluemotion Tech GD is £22,460, with 65.7mpg) and despite the improvements made by Vauxhall, the Astra doesn’t have the brand strength or equity to stand out in this company.

However, it’s worth noting that fleets will be able to negotiate good discounts from both Vauxhall and dealer, slicing a sizeable chunk of the list price.

FN Verdict
A massive improvement in quality, but still some niggling issues. The high P11D price unbalances the running cost figures, although the ‘fleet price’ will pull the car back into line with its nearest competitors. Well worth considering, but remember the fuel efficiency concerns.
Top Speed
Vauxhall Astra Top Speed
VED band
Vauxhall Astra Ved
Fuel Type
Vauxhall Astra Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : £6,125
4 Year 80k : £4,350
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : 46.36
4 Year 80k : 41.48

First drive: Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 136 SRi car review

At the Frankfurt motor show, Vauxhall’s chief executive and chairman Tim Tozer outlined his confidence that the new Astra would win increased sales from user-choosers: an area where desirability is key.

Our fleet: Golf GTD 2.0-litre TDI 184 PS 5dr - September 2014

We’ve said farewell to our Golf GT TSI and replaced it with…another Golf.

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