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The new Sports Tourer is almost exactly the same size as the outgoing model but is unlikely to be mistaken for its predecessor. With this replacement, Vauxhall has striven for something more standout – as evidenced by the conspicuous chrome band used to emphasise the elongated roofline.

It’s perhaps the boldest look ever worn by an Astra estate and it risks provoking stronger reactions – both good and bad – than any variant before it.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Vauxhall no longer offers sports suspension, because buyers aren’t interested. So why bother with a ‘Sport’ mode?

It’s slippery enough – the 0.272 drag coefficient is the same as for the hatch – and, being based on the same D2XX architecture, the estate benefits from the thorough belt tightening that turned out to be such a prevalent feature of the standard Astra’s success.

A higher proportion of high-strength steel, smaller subframes, shorter overhangs, a lighter exhaust and smaller wheels and brakes all played a part in a substantial saving over the old Delta II car, although the measures don’t prevent the estate from being around 85kg heavier than its hatch sibling.

Despite the disadvantage of extra bodywork, the Sports Tourer isn’t a beneficiary of Vauxhall’s Flexride adaptive dampers, receiving instead the same revised suspension that features on the hatch (a combination of front MacPherson struts and a torsion beam with Watt’s linkage at the back). The manufacturer claims slightly greater torsional rigidity than before, as well as improved noise and vibration suppression.

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Vauxhall offers a choice of five petrol and three diesel engines. The petrol line-up features the 104bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre three-pot ahead of the naturally aspirated 1.4-litre four-cylinder motor, followed by a pair of turbocharged 1.4s and the new 197bhp 1.6-litre Ecotec, which thrusts the estate from 0-60mph in 7.2sec.

All the CDTi diesel units are 1.6 litres in size and are distinguished by a 108bhp Ecoflex version that delivers 89g/km of CO2, a mid-range 136bhp version producing an equally clean 101g/km, and the range-topping BiTurbo tested here.

As the latter’s name suggests, it deploys a brace of different-sized turbochargers for sequential, two-stage boosting. With 258lb ft from 1500rpm and almost 150kg less weight to carry, Vauxhall claims almost identical performance to the twin-turbo 2.0-litre engine the 1.6 replaces – despite a 35bhp shortfall in output.

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