With so many engines to choose between, it’s easy for your brain to become boggled by the choices available. So allow us to try to simplify things a little. The first decision is whether to go petrol or diesel and that’s often as simple as knowing how many miles you’re going to cover in the car: the more you do, the more diesel makes sense.
If however it’s a petrol Astra you’re after – and leaving the VXR model out of the deliberations – the 138bhp 1.4-litre turbo is the best engine in the range, providing convincing performance (0-62mph in 9sec, top speed 126mph) with better fuel consumption than the gutless 113bhp normally aspirated 1.6-litre engine.
Vauxhall however appears to know this, so doesn’t make the engine available in any Astra below the quite ritzy SE grade. If you need a cheaper petrol engine, go for the 98bhp version of the standard 1.4-litre, which provides near identical performance to the 1.6, but vastly better fuel consumption.
But most customers will through choice or circumstance end up in a diesel Astra. The temptation here is to recommend that those looking for maximum fuel returns opt for the 1.3-litre motor while those looking for a long distance cruiser find the extra for the 2-litre.