Our Cars : Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer hits 10K

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Current mileage: 10,023 miles
Claimed economy: 62.8mpg
Actual economy: 46.4mpg

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

Just over a month in to Astra Sports Tourer ownership and we’ve already clocked up over 3000 miles. And it has to be said that this is a car that seems to thrive on long distance running – which would explain why the engine’s loosening-up nicely, and performance and economy just seem to be getting better.

The latest long journey undertaken in the Astra was a three-up fully-laden trip to Scotland’s Western Highlands. This is the sort of job that the 1.7CDTi is built for, and as expected, once in its long-striding sixth gear, the seemingly uphill slog to Scotland’s empty west was an easy one-shot run. Before the trip, we’ve been averaging a constant 45mpg before the trip – good, but about 5mpg short of what we’d expect a VW Golf 1.6TDI to deliver in the same circumstances.

Before the trip, I brimmed the tank, reset the counter, and was disappointed to see that the trip computer was reporting an anticipated range of 520 miles. Again, good, but somehow I expected a little more. But once, rolling on the A1, cruise set to 70mph, that figure rather agreeably began to go up. By the time we hit Glasgow, we’d covered 300 miles and the gauge was reporting that the tank was still half full. More like it. Given that we’d be heading for the wilds of Scotland – the world of high fuel prices – we refuelled here, and quickly calculated or mpg the old fashioned way. And guess what – 51.6mpg. Better.

But don’t get the impression we’re obsessing about fuel consumption. The long-striding Astra Sports Tourer proved that once away from the motorway, it’s a bit of a laugh on back roads. The handling is keen, with tidy turn-in, and steering is nicely weighted for those who like to crack on. But overtaking is a bit of a drag without a long run-up – the 2.0-litre with 165bhp would certainly alleviate that.

A week in Scotland with the Astra certainly gave us more time to warm to it. And it’s mostly good – it really is the driver’s choice in this sector, and devilishly handsome, too, if a little anonymous. It’s not perfect – the front three-quarter visibility is difficult in twisty roads, the infotainment system only intermittently picks up my iPhone through its data cable, and the power delivery is a little peaky – but it’s incredibly competent without being boring. Professional is the best way of describing it.

On the (seemingly) down hill run from Scotland – a 400-mile non-stop motorway non-stop – fuel consumption once again topped 50mpg. It’s just getting better – a nice thought to consider as the odometer nudges through the 10,000-mile mark…

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

23 Comments

  1. I have seen one of these on the road today – and felt it looked very oddly proportioned. The side profile picture on top gives the same impression to me. I find it difficult to point out, but somehow the centre of the passenger cabin – in particular the doors – look too small compared to front and rear. I have yet to sit in one, but the looks suggest to me it is rather cramped inside.
    For the sake of manufacture in Bochum, I hope many people like it though…

  2. My petrol 1.6 5 door hatch is more economical in general driving than on a long journey?
    I am averaging 41-45mpg in general driving mainly A and B roads using cruise when possible, but on a recent 300 mile journey on duals and motorways economy dropped to 37/38?

  3. The tourer is an handsome estate,pretty much like any VX estate of the last decade,apart from the new combo i dont think vauxhall make anything that is hard on the eye.

  4. Nice looking car the new Astra Tourer and those 5 spoke alloys suit it well. Looks like it will be a reliable and economic car. If I wanted one, I’d still go for the petrol though…

  5. Why does everyone criticise the astra? It must be a good car because it has sold well since its launch.If it was the ford astra everyone would love it.Also Alexander is wrong I have sat in a astra and a focus, the ford was more claustrophobic than the vauxhall.In my eyes its just badge snobbery.

    • @ben

      I have just given a completly subjective impression about the looks of the Astra. It should actually be roomier than a Focus, given it is quite a bit longer. There are other cars that are more spacious than the looks suggest, the Xantia is such a car.
      Despite building ever better cars, the endless news about looming trouble for GM Europe means that Opel sell less and less cars here in Germany. Market share dropped from a solid 20% at the begin of the 90s to a meager 8%.

  6. @7 The focus inside is a bit low rent for me,the Astra is far more “substantial”feeling and without a doubt the best looking.The front of the focus with those silly,massive grilles look like it should be a contender for Barryboys.co.uk

  7. GM need to close their loss making, inefficient German plants to break even. Sadly they’re too scared of the Unions.

    Astras represent a good buy from my experience.

  8. Agreed, they’ve got one plant too many, Bochum quite possibly. But I think this will not solve the problem with falling sales. One of the major problems is the corporate structure (with GM owning basically everything and billing Opel/Vauxhall for the use) and the fact that GM seems to hinder further expansion into new markets to protect their ‘other’ European brand: Chevrolet.

  9. @7 Francis… I didn’t care for the new Focus when it launched but am warming to it now there are more about. Having said that, in 2009 I saw a Ford design photo of the new Focus which looked great. (Front like a Fiesta, but larger and rear with style cues from Mondeo.)

    Sadly the “actual” car doesnt look exactly like that. I do think the new Fcus Estate looks as good as the Astra Tourer though.

  10. @14 i do think ford estates look better than thier hatch counterparts,i even like the Mondeo titanium estate-quite a looker.

  11. There are some pictures circulating of the Electric Focus sold in the US. This has a similar front end treatment to the new Mondeo/US Fusion and looks infinately better. Given this is now the Ford corporate nose it can only be a matter of time before the Focus gets a facelift ridding it of its current messy front end. Biggest advantage the Focus now has over the Astra is the 3 cylinder Ecoboost.

  12. 18 will it be an advantage 3 years down the line? i wont disagreethat this engine is very powerful and is recieving rave reviews,will it stand up to neglected oil changes from fleet users? and the cambelt runs in engine oil!

  13. @18 Come on Francis, surely not more predictive lame EcoBoost slating?

    I’m sure there aren’t a great many engines that will stand up to long term neglect!

    Have there been anymore disasterous software updates to tell us about since your last posts 😉

    The Astra estate looks lovely, and it’s great that it’s proving to be a solid performer. Hopefully the fleet market will take it seriously – make a change from Audi A3’s and BMW 3 Series littering the motorways.

  14. @19 on the contrary,i have recently used one off our fleet and i was impressed,all i am saying is its ok now but what about the real world-3 years down the line in the second and market where 8 million cars are sold each year?of course that counts for any car.This engine is quite unique in many area’s,its one thing having a chain driven astra or corsa rattling its stones off (which there must be thousands)what concerns me is a cambelt running in horrible,carboned and old oil how long is a lifetime of the engine in fords books?if they are reliable then terrific,manufactorers as always test engines to death but they still have failures and recalls no matter what.The “disasterous” software rewrite you are referring to was merely a fuel management patch.I would agree that the fleet market should take the astra and of course the focus seriously over and above an A3-the astra does look classy and i hope the focus gets a facelift soon!

  15. Nice car. I hope the fuel consumption improves though. My company car, a Golf 1.6 TDI Bluemotion Technology,new last December, is up to 18,000 miles now and averaging about 63-65 mpg. The worst I’ve got is about 57mpg, and the best about 73.

  16. @20 – top man Francis, I was only messing; your knowledge of the motor industry is far, far greater than mine and you are right about three years of hammer being the real test.

    I’ve just read that the 1.0 EcoBoost is being slotted into the forthcoming Mondeo which will be one hell of a task for it, and interesting to see how it performs…

    Read a few more reviews on the Astra now, and it seems that it really is proving to be a well thought out machine and a leap over its predecessor. Lets hope for strong showroom traffic.

  17. If I bought another Focus I would prefer it with the 1.6 Ecoboost (150ps) rather than the 3 pot 1 Litre. Although the 1 litre seems fine in the Focus (as tested on this site), I too am sceptical about how suitable it would be in a Mondeo… time will tell?

    As for Focus facelifts, I expect it will be Feb 2014 when that occurs as they seem to do a tweak three years into the production cycle.

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