Fleet News

New launch: Vauxhall Astravan

THE Vauxhall Astravan may lack the payload and load volume of its pure van brethren, but the likes of the Ford Transit Connect, Citroën Berlingo and indeed even the Vauxhall Combo can’t hold a candle to the Astravan in terms of looks and road manners.

It is the only true car-derived van available in the class, so why has Vauxhall just launched a new version when the likes of the old Ford Escort van bit the dust some years ago?

Because the customers keep demanding it. An amazing 49% of Astravan drivers are ‘loyal’ customers who have bought one before. And with a following like that, Vauxhall bosses would be mad to kill this golden goose.

Everything is new about the latest contender. It has looks to die for and has been tweaked from the car version with the aim of being the ultimate driver’s van.

In the cab, the seats have been remodelled with longer squabs and are different in Club and Sportive variants – the two spec levels offered in the range.

In the back, the new model has a longer wheelbase and a flat load floor, with an extra 58mm length and 9mm width over the old model. Payloads have been increased by up to 45kg.

Under the bonnet, Astravan gets a choice of four Euro IV-compliant engines: a 1.4-litre petrol, a 1.7 DTi diesel and 1.3 and 1.9 CDTi diesels.

Gross vehicle weights range from 1,810kg to 1,990kg, payloads range from 645-650kg and load volume is 1.58 cubic metres on all models. Driver and passenger airbags are standard, along with ABS brakes, EBD and emergency brake assist. Prices range from £9,995 to £14,570 (ex-VAT). AS long as you don’t need the extra 0.8 cubic metres of load space and 58kg of payload that the Combo offers, drivers will love you to bits for buying them an Astravan.

Behind the wheel

THIS is simply the best looking van on the roads today, bar none. It’s also the best handling too, which gives two good reasons for buying it over the Combo and suchlike.

There’s another reason too – unlike the Combo, it will fit into a garage, so valuable clobber can be locked away out of sight.

On our test route through the mountains of North Wales, the 1.3 CDTi diesel was available.

The 1.3 proved a willing, perky little performer – and mated with a slick six-speed gearbox (and with a 300kg load of sand aboard), this van never struggled, even on some steep inclines.

Inside, the cab is all black and silver, as with the Astra car, and the seats are noticeably better than on the old model.

Fact file

Max power (bhp): 88-120
Max torque (lb-ft): 92-206
Payload (kg): 645-650
Load volume (cu m): 1.58
Prices (ex-VAT): £9,995-£14,570

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