Fleet News

New Astra breaks cover

VAUXHALL'S new Astra finally broke cover this week just a month ahead of its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The clean-cut replacement for the ageing Astra reaches the UK next spring, and - following the lead set by the Vectra - is expected to feature ABS brakes as standard across the range.

Other highlights include a total of eight engines - the majority carried over from the existing line-up - with a pair of newcomers like the light pressure 2.0 direct injection diesel from the Vectra and a larger version of the new three-cylinder 1.0 unit which debuted in the Corsa.

The new Astra, which will also be built at Ellesmere Port, is significantly bigger than its predecessor inside, thanks to a four inch longer wheelbase, two inch wider track and windscreen base which is 4.7 inches further forward. Although Vauxhall calls the new look 'tech-style' and says it heralds a new era of design, styling is short of radical, but represents a more significant step forward than the Vectra was over the Cavalier.

Prices will be announced just before the car goes on sale next spring, but with the new Golf and Citroen Xsara due out later this year and the Escort later next year, Vauxhall will not be able to charge much of a premium over the competition.

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