Fleet News

New Astra breaks cover - but UK buyers face six-month wait

THE all-new Vauxhall Astra, which goes on sale in the UK next spring, was seen for the first time at Frankfurt. Fleet success for Astra is crucial to Vauxhall's success in the UK and the company has been given leeway by General Motors to spec the car with fleets in mind.

The company only decided to unveil the new Astra at Frankfurt in a bid to steal some of the thunder from the launch of the new Volkswagen Golf. But around six months ahead of UK launch - the car is expected to go on sale in March - Vauxhall chairman and managing director Nick Reilly was remaining tight-lipped on UK specification and prices for the new Astra. We understand further details will be released in the run-up to the London Motor Show next month.

There will be a choice of eight engines - six petrol and two diesel - including the new 2.0-litre 100bhp direct injection turbo-diesel which debuts in the Vectra, a larger version of the three-cylinder 1.0-litre unit which debuted in the Corsa and a 1.8-litre 16v 115bhp debuting in the new car.

The new Astra is significantly larger inside than the outgoing model due to a longer wheelbase, increased width and the windscreen shunted forward giving increased hip, leg and knee room. In addition noise has been reduced and fuel consumption is estimated to be about 12% better than the current model. It is also the manufacturer's first car to feature a fully-galvanised body and, as a result, will come with a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.

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