Vauxhall trim levels are notoriously complicated, and while Luton has moved to simplify the Astra’s line-up, the Sports Tourer range still includes four distinct ranks (Design, Tech Line, SRi and Elite), with two sub-levels that tack ‘Nav’ onto the designation (as our test car’s does – although this convention is confused slightly by the fact that Tech Line comes with sat-nav as standard).
None is poorly equipped – even the entry-level Design cars get air-con, cruise control, 16in alloys and an IntelliLink system that includes the 7.0in touchscreen, DAB tuner and Bluetooth connectivity.
Our car’s SRi Nav trim added bigger wheels, front foglights, sportier seats, a Sport switch, a few more toys and an OnStar assistance system for £24,605 with the BiTurbo engine – almost exactly the same money that buys you a mid-spec wagon-shaped Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi Titanium or a Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI SE-L Estate.
As we’ve said, the Astra is more than a match for its larger-engined rivals in the performance stakes. However, the suggestion that its smaller capacity might immediately translate into cheaper running costs is not borne out by the figures.
In fact, both the Focus and Octavia claim marginally superior combined fuel economy at 70.6mpg (to the Astra’s 67.3mpg) and both are below its 112g/km CO2 emissions. Being 1% more expensive on a P11D is not make or break, but given the high proportion of business users that this car will attract, it’s a shame that this advantage has been ceded to its direct rivals.
However, on real-world True MPG testing, it’s worth noting that despite a 15% difference between claim and reality, the CDTi BiTurbo actually beat the economy of the 1.6 CDTi 136 (both hatch and estate)with an average of 57.3mpg – easily qualifying it as our pick of the range, despite the road duty implications.
If you are intent on the Sports Tourer we would opt for the BiTurbo engine, which is still the preserve of higher SRi and Elite trims, meaning the car tested represents the current sweet spot. In all other circumstances we’d take cheaper Tech Line spec.