From £18,1106
Handsome Astra GTC gets nearly 200bhp, but it needs to be worked hard and is, ultimately, too expensive

Our Verdict

Vauxhall GTC

Great to drive and beautifully styled, the GTC is a game changer for Vauxhall

9 March 2014

What is it?

Vauxhall’s lovely three-door Astra GTC, with the near-200bhp turbo petrol engine from the Cascada. It is not, however, one step down from the VXR. Other than the engine, the rest of it is standard GTC - so you get the rather good HiPer Strut front suspension, the effective rear suspension and the retuned steering. 

This car is a Limited Edition, which adds an imposing set of 20-inch rims and a smart set of deeper bumpers. 

What's it like?

It’s a fine-looking car, the GTC, and those sharp lines means it can just about get away with the attractive 20-inch wheels. Although it’s hard to not to miss the fact that the brake discs look very small behind the wheels, which lends them a bit of an aftermarket feel. 

It can just about get away with maintaining a respectable ride, too - it’s nowhere near as choppy or crashy as you might expect, and potholes don’t seem to worry it at all. We drove it on well-maintained French roads, but deliberately seeking out some uneven, undulating surfaces caused the car to pitch about a bit. 

And the engine? Given that the GTC has a nicely realised chassis, it’s not a surprise that it will easily contain the 1.6-litre’s 197bhp without any drama. The HiPer Strut front end does away with any hint of torque steer, and you can properly nail the throttle through a tight corner without corrupting the steering. It doesn’t squirm or wriggle about from a standing start, so you can get it moving quickly and cleanly.

Trouble is, it just isn’t that enjoyable when you do. Somehow, it does not feel that quick - granted, the 0-62mph of 7.3 seconds isn’t particularly rapid - and if you want to be reminded that it has the power output of a Mk5 Golf GTi, you really need to work it. And that gets a bit tiring. Noisy, too, with a less than enticing exhaust note that tends towards loud rather than lovely.

It’s better suited to trundling along at speed on a motorway than anything too enthusiastic, which is a shame because the rest of the car retains the GTC’s fine handling traits. 

Should I buy one?

Not at full list price, because as an LE it’s £21,495, and for that money you might as well get a 1.4 Scirocco. Sorry for the predictability, but the Astra’s engine just isn’t special enough.

There are some good discounts already available, knocking around £5k off list, at which point it starts to look like a much better deal. 

Dan Stevens

Vauxhall Astra GTC LE 1.6i Turbo

Price £21,495; 0-62mph 7.3sec; Top speed 143mph; Economy 42.2mpg; CO2 156g/km; Kerb weight 1428kg; Engine four-cyls, petrol, turbocharged, 1598cc; Power 197bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 206lb ft at 1500-3500rpm; Gearbox Six-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
4

jer

9 March 2014
You will be in trouble with vauxhall ...

9 March 2014
I'd forgotten about the Cascada, not seen one yet. Probably start to see a few once the weather improves....

9 March 2014
catnip wrote:

I'd forgotten about the Cascada, not seen one yet. Probably start to see a few once the weather improves....

I've seen a couple. Rather handsome car in the metal

9 March 2014
Those wheels don't look like 20's, just shows how big and bulky today's modern cars have become? I can see everybody copying Renaults twingo and putting the engine in the back, this does at least seem to allow the bonnet to be dropped back down to a sensible hight. No strange 'A' pillar styling disasters.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK