Vauxhall’s Astra has long been a heavyweight contender in the fleet sector, and its new 1.6 CDTi ‘whisper quiet’ engine has further increased its appeal through improved fuel economy, CO2 emissions and refinement.
The engine has replaced the manufacturer’s long-serving 1.7 CDTi unit in a number of model ranges, and the 136hp version of the diesel powers our new long-term test car.
Our Astra is in Tech Line GT trim – one of two equipment grades developed for the company car market.
It sits above the Tech Line model, which itself is fitted with satellite navigation with seven-inch colour screen, a Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone system, digital radio, USB connection and aux-in socket, air-conditioning, cruise control, and a multi-function trip computer. The 1.6 CDTi model has a P11D price of £19,450.
For an extra £860, fleets can opt for the Tech Line GT trim of our test model. This adds a sports styling package, 18-inch alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension, sports front seats and LED daylight running lights.
Choosing the Tech Line GT model carries a CO2 penalty though. Its emissions of 110g/km are 6g/km higher than the Tech Line, putting it in the 18% benefit-in-kind tax (BIK) band, compared to the lesser model’s 16%.
Combined with the higher P11D price, this means the Tech Line GT driver faces an annual BIK bill of £731, compared to the Tech Line user’s £622.
Running costs for the employer are also higher. The Tech Line model will cost 30.43 pence per mile to run over a four-year/80,000-mile cycle, while the Tech Line GT is 31.7ppm.
The Tech Line GT’s bodykit, larger wheels and lowered suspension certainly make the GT look more purposeful, while the sports seats offer plenty of support.
But is the extra cost of the GT over the Tech Line model worth it? We’ve got the Astra for six months to find out.