The Vauxhall Astra is one of the UK’s best-selling cars, and the accomplished mid-sized hatchback comes with a variety of options to choose from. Should you get a hatchback or the Sports Tourer? Petrol or Diesel? Which trim level is best for you? You’ve probably got a lot to think about, so we’re here to help go through the list and with any luck we’ll help you get one step closer to finding the Astra that’s right for you.
Petrol or Diesel?
Many car buyers don’t realise that unless you’re doing a lot of miles each year, you don’t really need a diesel engine. Of course, most modern diesel engines return very good economy figures; but constant short journeys do diesel cars no good, and it’s actually much better sense financially to buy a petrol car – they have cheaper list prices and don’t mind running short journeys. Petrol is also cheaper at the pumps most of the time. Think carefully about the distance you cover – over 13,000 miles a year makes diesel a viable option, but anything under means it is best to stick to petrol.
If you’re going to opt for a petrol engine, we’d suggest the 150PS version of the 1.4-litre unit. It’s got 50% extra grunt than the same engine running 100PS, but will return more-or-less equal figures. Diesel engine buyers will probably feel the happiest with the 1.6-litre unit fitted with the ‘BiTurbo’ technology. It makes the car feel a lot quicker than the 1.6-litre cars fitted without the double-turbo. Both these engines are only available on certain trim levels, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Hatchback or Sport Tourer?
This is a pretty simple one really. People seeking the maximum possible load space should go for the larger Sport Tourer, as it’ll be much less difficult to load objects into the car and you’ll have extra room anyway. The hatchback and the Sport Tourer don’t drive much differently out on the road, though the latter is slightly heavier. In reality, most drivers won’t notice a difference and technology, like parking sensors, will still make it easy to park.
The Trim Levels
With all modern cars, there is a whole host of trim levels available. Trim levels basically affect what your car comes with in terms of styling and equipment, and can also impact the engine and sometimes transmissions options open to you. We’re only going to cover the major changes between the trim levels here, because if we make a list featuring things like ‘body coloured door handles’ we’re going to end up boring you to death. With that, let’s get to it. On the Vauxhall Astra, you’ll find the following trim levels available:
Design is the entry-level trim, so it provides you with the most basic kind of Vauxhall Astra you can buy. A touchscreen system, air conditioning, and 16’ alloy wheels are the highlights of this level, but you’ll also find other basic features, too, like electric windows. Just so you know, on almost all modern cars, safety technology, such as airbags and electronic stability controls, are standard.
Tech Line Nav
Tech Line Nav isn’t much different to Design, really. The key feature is the addition of a satellite navigation system, a must for many buyers. On top of the equipment found in Design, you get a leather wrapped steering wheel and a… no, actually that’s it.
Trim levels can be confusing, can’t they? To emphasise just how complicated they can be, Energy trim level is basically just a Design with 17’ alloy wheels and cruise control. Okay, it’s a little more complex than that as there are some very subtle changes and additions, but the ones that buyers will feel strongly about we’ve mentioned here.
SRi is where things start to get interesting. If you want your Vauxhall Astra to look a little bit sporty, this is the level to start at. SRi comes with 17’ wheels that have a more striking design, front fog lights, the driver assistance pack that features a forward-facing camera, and Vauxhall’s ‘OnStar’ concierge system, which can put you in touch with an adviser 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Identical to the SRi trim above, but featuring a sat nav, so you can ring your OnStar adviser and get them to programme your sat nav for you!
Again, a slightly sportier looking Astra featuring 18’ wheels this time. It also comes with a ‘Sport’ button that you can press when you feel a bit mischievous. No sat nav though, that’s reserved for…
SRi VX-Line Nav
Elite is listed as the top-spec, the Astra that’s the classiest in the line-up. Elite Astras are loaded up with toys and gadgets, like heated front and rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. They look quite different to the SRi VX-Line, though. What you prefer all comes down to taste, so if you’re after a slightly sporty looking car, the SRi trim is the way to go. More reserved, but still want to spoil yourself? Elite is the look for you.
Again, all toys and joys of Elite trim level, but with the addition of a Navigation system. If you’re going to treat yourself to Elite, we say you may as well go all-in and pick the navigation too. It will round off the car as a complete package.
Carsnip’s Editorial Chief: Tim Barnes-Clay