Fleet News

First drive: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.6 SRI Nav CDTi car review

Vauxhall

Review

Lower pricing and improved running costs are driving a surge in demand from fleets and company car drivers for higher trim versions of the latest Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer.

Orders for SRi and Elite models are up by 60% in the wake of cuts of around £2,000 in list prices, which means lower costs for fleets and drivers, claims fleet marketing manager Paul Adler.

“We’re absolutely committed to helping drivers pay the minimum amount of benefit tax and we have achieved this by reverse engineering our pricing from where we would like to be in three years’ time based on wholelife costs leadership,” he said.

“Our policy to make every new model range as competitive as possible has put the Astra at the top of its class for wholelife costs and benefit-in-kind (BIK) liability, but the work we’ve done to optimise the car for company drivers is also paying dividends in the volume of orders we’re receiving for upper trim versions. The Sports Tourer is currently the second best seller in its category; a lift of more than 30% in true fleet volume will take it to the top seller position.”

Compared with its predecessor, the SRi version has a richer mix of equipment to give the popular medium-size workhorse model even broader appeal, particularly in the user-chooser sector. Standard features include a front camera-based safety system offering speed sign recognition, lane departure warning and forward collision alert that provides braking assistance at low speeds.

Judged as the best lower medium car in this year’s Fleet News Awards, the model also features OnStar, Vauxhall's directory service that can provide drivers and managers with a monthly report detailing fuel consumption, tyre pressure and overall condition, plus the ability to get live condition statements on demand. Meanwhile, 4G hotspot wi-fi underlines its potential for use as a mobile office.

Despite being similar to the outgoing model in proportions, the Sports Tourer is bigger inside, giving greater head and legroom, along with a total load volume of 1,630 litres. In addition, the new bodywork is sleeker and lighter.

With a sliding centre armrest to complement its height and rake-adjust steering, the Astra provides a relaxed driving position. Fully-adjustable sports-style front seating ensures long-distance comfort – although tyres that are sensitive to road surface changes can make progress noisy at times.

Thanks to piano black finishing and bright metal detailing, the SRi has an inviting interior with a dashboard styled to be a model of clarity and which avoids unnecessary switchgear. In standard mode, engine power is ample and handling is nimble, but go-faster drivers will appreciate the ‘sport’ button for sharper response to the accelerator and a more sporty steering feel.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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