Mark Tisshaw
4 July 2011

What is it?

This is an Astra for those who like performance, as well as infrequent trips to the fuel station, if you believe the numbers on paper. This 2.0 CDTi ecoFLEX model is the fastest, most powerful Astra diesel you can buy, its engine producing 158bhp and the 0-60mph sprint taking 8.5sec.

But it’ll also return 62.8mpg on the combined cycle and has a tax friendly CO2 rating of 119g/km. So far, so good, then.

What’s it like?

This Astra may be quick, but it’s not fun or especially comfortable to drive. The engine has plenty of poke and is responsive at all legal speeds, and, unlike in most eco-biased cars, its six forward ratios are nicely spaced for swift and unblunted progress.

But the engine is noisy at low speeds and around town and there is considerable diesel clatter. This only really disappears were you’re into fifth and sixth gear on the motorway. The clutch, too, is much firmer than we’d like and has a very narrow bite point. Not great in traffic. That said the stop-start system is efficient and unobtrusive enough.

Elsewhere, the Astra’s chassis lacks the involvement of its rivals. The 2.0 CDTi engine makes the Astra feel like a heavy car and one lacking agility or involvement. The steering, however, is nicely weighted and precise and the ride is acceptable, if lacking the absorption abilities of the Golf and Focus.

There are good points to the car asides from the performance, though. It’s easy to achieve around 50mpg even when you’re driving hard, although this is still short of the claimed figure. The interior, too, is classy and feels like a car from the class above.

Should I buy one?

The Astra five-door isn’t a car for enthusiasts. If you want a quick Astra with a sports chassis, Vauxhall says that will be provided to you in the shape of the upcoming three-door Astra GTC.

The running costs and performance are not without appeal in this 2.0 CDTi model, but in this class, being excellent in some areas and merely good in others will put you closer to the bottom of the class than the top.

And at £22,725 in SRi trim before you start ticking option boxes, this isn’t a cheap car. You’ll find the sweet spot of the Astra diesel range further down, with the 1.7 CDTi 125 offering the best blend of economy, kit and value.

 

Vauxhall Astra Sri 2.0 CDti ecoFLEX Start/Stop

Price: £22,725; Top speed: 134mph; 0-60mph: 8.5sec; Economy: 62.8mpg combined; CO2: 119g/km; Kerb weight: 1453kg; Engine: 4cyls in line, 1956cc, turbodiesel; Power: 158bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
13

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

yes, but an astra is a rebadged, german engineered opel.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

kcrally wrote:
yes, but an astra is a rebadged, german engineered opel.
So? It still has one of the worst modern diesel engines and very little else to recommend it. It's not like Opel has a wonderful reputation, nor that Germans are known for never making a bad car.

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:

The Astra five-door isn’t a car for enthusiasts. If you want a quick Astra with a sports chassis, Vauxhall says that will be provided to you in the shape of the upcoming three-door Astra GTC.

Why? Do people who drive 5 doors not want enthusiastic handling?

I remember a time when the SRi monika slapped to the butt of an Astra meant you were getting something interesting in the chassis department, not just a trim level. Fair enough it wasn't always the class best but it was a step up.

With the rest of the package being so competitive (and for me arguably more desirable than the Golf), especially in the engine department, it seems a shame they have let this one aspect go to waste.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

Exactly. The Vectra C SRI I had with the old 150 CDTI engine was a real pleasure to drive, for a Vectra at least. The current Insignia SRI doesn't even look any sportier than the rest of the range, same problem with the Astra I here.

This reminds me of the VW Golf GTI, changing from a real sporty option to a re-badged mid-range model. VW had the sense to push back against that mundanity, Vauxall/Opel need to do the same.

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

It's got 'lowered and uprated sports suspension', 'sports front seats', '3 spoke leather covered sports steering wheel'

Sounds pretty sporty to me.

If it's spoilers and the like you're after they do those too as optional extras because not everyone wants them.

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

Lifer wrote:

Sounds pretty sporty to me.

Your missing the point. SRi's used to be warm versions of the model they were adorned to and drove accordingly, what ever the body shape. Indeed, traditionally they haven't been bespoilered but they did look different from the standard cars.

Clearly indicated in the report, Vauxhall consider the three door to be the entertaining version and the review seems to reinforce this. Surely there shouldn't be a differentiation between body styles.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

TegTypeR wrote:
Your missing the point.

You missed the sarcasm.

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

Lifer wrote:

TegTypeR wrote:
Your missing the point.

You missed the sarcasm.

Ahhh.... Hands up to that one.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

Well OK folks, give yourself a pat on the back for giving the Astra a good bashing. Wrongly or rightly most people on these forums (and on others) favour the German equivalent; and they seem to rather put their hands in their pockets for anything but a British built car (in this case Ellesmere Port). I don't think the Astra is necessarily a better car than the Golf. But below is a few reasons why myself and wife bought a version of this car (in fact it's a 2.0 CDTI 160 S/S but a Sports Tourer aka the estate) - it was only £299 advance payment for a Motability purchase (nothing, inc the Golf comes even remotely close to the rounded qualities at this puny amount - it's British built so a purchase (albeit on the Motability scheme) at least go's some/little way to securing British jobs etc - I can tell you it's quick; in fact 40-70mph is really quick - it's immensely refined on the motorway, even at 'faster' speeds - the cabin is well thought out in terms of storage/cubby holes i.e. good for kids - trust me, that's important! - for bigger/awkward loads the back seats come out (does the golf have that?) - it's so much better looking (in Touring form) than the Golf and the Focus it's laughable - 50mpg overall cycle is achievable. I'm now getting 46mpg but it's only done 700 miles! I'm perhaps not driving it as economically as I could do either... Yes, it's helm is lacking a bit in feel but I don't understand the comments about noise at lower speeds - it sounds no different than a warmed up 09 VW Passat 2.0 i was in recently. I have no probs with the clutch for that matter either. I agree that if you buying outright at 22k then this would be an expensive car - but what a machine I have for only £299 upfront payment and 3 years (hoepfully) enjoyable v.low cost Motability driving........

Re: Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi SRi

3 years 3 weeks ago

So; Fast but not much fun or particularly comfortable to drive. Definitely an Astra then, GM have learnt very little from the last car or the competition.

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Our Verdict

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

Driven this week