This is what happens when you combine the Astra that photocopier salesmen have been waiting for (the Sports Tourer – or estate, to you and me), with the most un-company-car-friendly engine in its line-up: the range-topping 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol.
What are its rivals?
The Astra Sports Tourer is the third best-selling estate in the UK. Vauxhall is hoping that the latest model could put up a greater fight against the more popular Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
Which engine does it use?
So that 1.6-litre turbo we mentioned? It combines 220lb ft of torque with an almost-hot 200hp to create a 0-60mph time of 7.2 seconds, plus a top speed of 146mph. Yes, in an Astra estate with no in-your-face sporting pretensions.
What’s it like to drive?
We put the Astra Sports Tourer through the most gruelling of real-life photocopier salesman tests – by taking it for a spin along the infamous Route Napoleon in southern France. With a weight saving of up to 190kg over its predecessor (depending on spec), the new Astra Sports Tourer is a surprisingly enjoyable car to drive. It’s almost as satisfying to punt along as a Focus – while also offering a smooth, refined drive that’ll please those who spend all day pounding UK motorways.
Fuel economy and running costs
Although the 1.6-litre 200hp petrol engine’s claimed 45.6mpg and 142g/km CO2 actually sound reasonable for a car of this performance, Vauxhall says that 80% of the Astra Sport Tourer’s buyers will be company car drivers. If that’s you, you’d be better off looking at the 1.6-litre BiTurbo diesel for a potent Astra estate. If you do opt for this engine, you’ll be looking at a 25% benefit-in-kind tax bill.
Is it practical?
Yes – boasting 540 litres of luggage space with the rear seats up (40 litres more than the previous model), the new Astra Sports Tourer can fit more in its boot than a Ford Focus, but less than a Volkswagen Golf. Aside from all-out boot capacity, it’s impressive how much space the Astra estate offers inside the cabin. There’s more headroom and legroom than before.
What about safety?
As is now the norm for mainstream family cars, the Astra is packed with clever safety tech – including automatic braking and lane-departure warning. You needn’t worry about safety in the Astra Sports Tourer.
Which version should I go for?
Probably not this one – you’d be better off with the BiTurbo diesel, or the smaller 1.4-litre petrol if you must have a petrol. If you can justify the 1.6-litre, go for SRi Nav spec for the best combination of affordability and standard equipment.
Should I buy one?
It takes a lot to justify a thirsty, £21,725 Vauxhall Astra estate. But if you can, it’s an impressive car – not only worthy of winning the European Car of the Year in hatchback form, but offering exceptional levels of practicality as an estate. This engine isn’t the most suited to the car, but it’s certainly fun – providing hot hatch performance in an otherwise sensible package.
The Astra Sports Tourer comes with Vauxhall’s OnStar concierge service. Free for the first year (increasing to £79 in subsequent years), OnStar lets drivers phone a personal advisor at the touch of a button. They can track the user’s location and advise them on points of interest, and even re-route your car’s sat nav.