What is it?

The third out of four body derivatives of the Vauxhall Astra, Britain’s most popular new car in 2010 – and it’s about to go on sale in the UK. With the five-door hatchback and sports tourer estate already on the market, Luton is preparing to start deliveries of the three-door Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri. Or the GTC coupe, as they would prefer you to think of it.

This time they’ve got good reason to insist on a separate showroom identity for the racier-looking Astra. Although it’s based on a platform common with the rest of the model family, the GTC is markedly lower, wider and more athletic-looking than the five-door.

Underneath the all-new panels there’s an upgraded chassis with wider tracks, retuned springs, dampers and bushings, and GM’s advanced ‘Hiperstrut’ front suspension system. The latter is designed to maintain the kingpin angle of the front suspension under load, providing better camber control, grip and steering precision, and less torque steer. It’s the sort of equipment becoming more common on highly strung performance front-drivers - but on a car available for less than £19,000, it’s unprecedented.

What’s it like?

A track drive in a prototype with a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine earlier this year suggested big improvements in handling and driver involvement for the GTC relative to the regular Astra. And on UK country roads similar to the ones on which the car was developed, the GTC rides and handles with real distinction.

Our test car was a 2.0-litre CDTI diesel – not the most effervescent version of the car, but it was refined and swift through the middle of the rev range, with decent throttle response for a powerplant of this kind, and quite a slick gearchange.

Really impressive was the accuracy and crispness of the GTC’s steering and the agility of its chassis, however – both of which give the car an unexpectedly purposeful aura to match its dynamic styling. This car corners quickly with excellent body control and considerable verve and interactivity.

A retuned electromechanical power steering system, mounted directly to the car’s steering rack rather than its steering column, makes for a precise and unfettered sense of control over the front wheels. Vauxhall must have worked to enhance the feedback through the EPS system since the summer too because, although the earlier prototype we drove didn’t impress in this area, our test car certainly did, providing confidence-inspiring positivity and good natural road feel.

Vauxhall’s FlexRide adaptive dampers will be a must-have for anyone who regularly crosses really poor surfaces, however. The GTC’s standard passive dampers strike quite a firm ride compromise that makes the car a little restless over rougher roads taken at normal speeds; FlexRide has a softer ‘Tour’ setting which better smoothes out choppy tarmac. It’s a £790 option, which should be easy to offset against a healthy discount on list price from your Vauxhall dealer.

Should I buy one?

If you can live without the added desirability of a VW Scirocco, even a Peugeot RCZ, we heartily recommend the Astra GTC. For keener drivers who value tautness and agility in a car first and foremost, the GTC offers real sporting appeal, and is as suited to British blacktop as any £20k coupe we can think of. It won’t break the bank, either. A like-for-like Scirocco will set you back between £1000 and £1500 more, and an RCZ more still.

Matt Saunders

Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

Price: £22,430; Top speed: 131mph; 0-60mph: 8.4sec; Economy: 57.6mpg; Co2: 129g/km; Kerbweight: 1495kg; Engine type, cc: 4cyls, 1956cc, turbodiesel; Power: 163bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Comments
34

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

Why is it not as desirable as the Scirocco?

To my eyes this is a lot more desirable.

Excellent result Vauxhall, I now eagerly await the VXR version. Hopefully power doesn't corrupt in this case.

 

 

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

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

As looks are a personal thing it shouldnt matter that the styling is blobby, neither should its very Korean looking dash. Instead i should be impressed that GM have made it drive better. will these revisions be fitted to the the other models? i doubt it.

If you have an all Vauxhall company car list i guess this becomes one of the better choices. other than that i am unimpressed.

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

TegTypeR wrote:

Why is it not as desirable as the Scirocco?

To my eyes this is a lot more desirable.

Excellent result Vauxhall, I now eagerly await the VXR version. Hopefully power doesn't corrupt in this case.

The Scirocco is more desirable due to the badge and perceived quality, will be the stock answer as well as better residuals. On looks, the Astra runs the Scirocco close but it's engines currently let it down for me. Vauxhall are on the up for me (never been a fan) and the Astra is evidence of this for me.

www.thecarexpert.co.uk/forums

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

TegTypeR wrote:

Why is it not as desirable as the Scirocco?

To my eyes this is a lot more desirable

+1

It looks great and sounds like a good drive. Can't wait for the new VXR...

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

Luton?

Is the Astra not built in Ellesmere Port?

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

Handsome_Tom wrote:

Luton?

Is the Astra not built in Ellesmere Port

Yes, Astras are built in Ellesmere Port.

Luton is the Vauxhall headquarters, and the author meant Vauxhall by writing Luton.

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

Rich_uk wrote:
The Scirocco is more desirable due to the badge and perceived quality
Having driven and spent much time in a friends Scirocco I have to say that I find it very poor quality. Many major points of contact feel cheap and vulnerable and I even broke an air vent while trying to adjust the angle, it simply came off in my hand. I would seriously consider one of these if I were in the market for a coupe or hot hatch. Can't wait to see one in the metal

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

TegTypeR wrote:

Why is it not as desirable as the Scirocco?

To my eyes this is a lot more desirable.

and + 1

Why oh why is a Scirocco more desirable - its a VW badge not BMW or Audi......

This is nicer in and out. If my experience of Passat or Insignia mean anything this Astar will be sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much better,

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

It looks a lot like the 3 yr old Megane Coupe to me, only not quite as aggressive or handsome, a bit more feminine perhaps.

The interior is also very Hyundai, come on someone a fresh take on an interior please!

I will admit though Opel UK`s products are getting better and more desirable.

Re: Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sri

3 years 3 days ago

Remembering Clarkson saying that he'd eat his own hair if the previous 3 door Astra looked as good as the styling exercise... this thing looks superb; even better than the last one.

30 years ago it would have been a Chevette. How car's have improved since then!

(Before anyone says it, I'm not including the HS or the HSR in that statement...)

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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