If you are looking for something larger than a hatchback but
not as large as an SUV or a Crossover, the Vauxhall Astra is definitely one to
consider. The Astra is one of the UK’s number one family cars in its class, it
has been fighting its way to the top for over 40 years. Its key competitors are
the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf. The Astra is more cost effective compared
to most of its competitors.
The Astra comes in 5 trim levels, from the standard SE to the top spec Elie Nav Premium. You have a choice of three-cylinder petrol or diesel engines; most have a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. You do have the option of choosing a nine-speed automatic, which is the only choice with the 1.4-litre petrol engine. The CO2 emissions are low for its class, and the diesel versions meet the latest RDE2 low emissions test, ideal for a company driver.
The standard SE comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Cruise Control, LED running lights and 16-inch alloy wheels. Additional to the SE’s features the Business Edition Astra includes a Sat Nav system, the sight and light pack which has a rain sensor and automatic light switch on when in a tunnel, the steering wheel is leather covered and includes an adjustable arm rest.
The next level up is the SRI, which in addition to the SE’s features has 17-inch five twin-spoke alloy wheels, sports-style front seats, front camera system, rain sensitive windscreen, remote control alarm system and front fog lights. The difference between the SRI and the SRI Nav, is just the addition of the multimedia navigation system with fully integrated European mapping.
Finally the high spec Astra is the Elite Nav Premium, with all the SE features and the multimedia navigation pro system touchscreen, 17-inch wheels, key-less entry and start, ventilated front seats with leather trims, winter pack with heated front seats and steering wheel, front camera system, rain sensitive windscreen and the remote control alarm system.
The new 2020 7th generation Astra Light has a new lighter engine and lower CO2 levels. It includes class-leading high tech such as IntelliLux LED Matrix Lights which are glare free permanent high-beam lights, especially good during longer nights allowing the driver to see further without disrupting other vehicles.
New model Qashqai has a high up commanding driving position, with premium monoform design high quality seats for ultimate comfort, holding you in place when driving around corners. The driver’s position is very good with plenty of adjustments on the steering wheel and seat. We are particularly impressed by the adjustable lumbar support, which is to correct poor posture while driving.
It is impressive how the Qashqai builds speed in low revs to give you flexibility performance in any gear, especially on with the 138bph 1.3 DiG-T N-Connecta petrol engine. The Qashqai offers a 158bph version of this model however, the difference in pace is not very noticeable for daily use unless you are using it to tow or you want the new automatic gearbox. The handling is safe and secure and, it’s easy to manage around town.
As a bigger hatchback and not so much a Crossover this model has a broad interior, there is plenty of space and head room in both the front and back seats, even for the over six feet tall. Leg room is unlikely to be an issue, and you will not be clashing elbows. In fact, the leg room is on par with the Skoda Octavia, which is the best car in its class for its rear space. However just like most rivals accommodating three adults in the back would be a little bit of a squeeze. It has a decent sized glove box, front pockets big enough for a couple of water bottles, inside door storage and a little cubby in front of the gear leaver, which we wish was a little larger for more easy access items like loose change.
If you want sliding or reclining back seats the Astra is not for you, it offers a usual 60/40 split-folding seat function, and the passenger seats don’t fold either. This is available on some of its competitors such as the VW Golf, which makes it easier if you are carrying particularly long items. The boot space is reasonably spacious with 370-litre storage.