Review: Vauxhall Astra Sports TourerBy Simon Donohue
May 16, 2011
Multi-tasking. It’s one of the buzzwords of modern day life. The ability to take on several different roles and perform them well.
And it’s a word that I reckon describes the character of the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, an estate car that combines the roles of capacious load carrier, comfortable family motor, truly satisfying drive and svelte good-looker.
Maybe that last quality is one you wouldn’t automatically relate to an estate, but Vauxhall’s designers have come up with a car that has lines which deliver a look of real class and dynamism, without compromising the high level of practicality.
The tapered profile and falling roofline give a sporty and elegant air, but the designers have worked their magic so that style does not impinge on the load space. The inside story is one of quality materials and eye-catching, immediately coherent design.
Plastics and fabrics are a tactile treat, while dashboard and steering column controls feel reassuringly substantial.
The cabin is a pleasant place to be, roomy, rewarding and easy to access, with all controls falling easily to hand and foot.
So, top marks for looks and comfort, but what about practicality, a keynote of any estate car?
Well, the Sports Tourer is packed with clever features, including a cargo area with flat wall linings
to really make the most of interior space. The tailgate and load bay are also exactly the same width, making loading a hassle-free process.
There’s also a new Flexfold feature, which allows each section of the 60/40 split-fold rear seatbelts
to be lowered at the press of a button housed in the walls of the cargo compartment, and a two stage luggage compartment cover, easily adjustable for small or larger loads. More storage space is available under the cargo floor.
Load capacity is 500 litres with the rear seats up, extending to 1,550 litres with rear seats down and seat cushions removed to give a completely flat load floor.
The driving experience is particularly fulfilling – our test car, a 1.4T SRi, boasts a gem of a 1364cc turbo-charged petrol engine, which, with 140bhp on tap, lays down its power smoothly and is mated to a crisp and positive six speed manual gearbox.
The ride is supple, handling sweet and the car feels rewarding and accomplished.
As for kit, the list of standard features seems to go on forever, running from air conditioning, electric parking brake (easy to use) and sports front seats, to ambient interior lighting, three-spoke, leather-covered sports steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, 12volt power socket in the luggage compartment, lowered and uprated sports suspension ... and much more.
Our car also benefited from some optional kit — posh satnav, DAB radio (to complement the CD player and MP3 facility), front and rear parking sensor and Bluetooth.
There’s also an array of hi-tech safety features including electronic stability control and traction control as well as the usual ABS.
This car works so well on so many levels. Good at multi-tasking? You bet!
Make/Model: Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.4T SRi
Technical: 1364cc, 140bhp turbo-charged 16-valve petrol engine with six-speed manual gearbox
0-60mp: 9.5 seconds
Top speed: 125mph
Fuel: 46mpg (combined)
Insurance: Group 17E
With options: £21,995.