What is it?
This Astra comes with a normally aspirated 1.6-litre engine and is likely to be one of the sales mainstays of the range. The engine is a carry-over unit from the previous Astra and develops 113bhp at 6000rpm and 114lb ft of torque at 4000rpm.
It uses a five-speed gearbox as standard, though a six-speed automatic transmission is available, albeit for a steep-sounding £1175 premium. Fuel consumption is a reasonable 44.8mpg, emissions an equally acceptable 147g/km.
The car we drove also came with the optional FlexRide chassis, which allows the driver to choose between standard, sport and touring settings for the suspension by way of electronically controlled damping, though other parameters like throttle mapping and steering weighting remain unaltered.
In SE specification this Astra looks expensive at £18,850, so it should be said the engine is available in all five grades, from the entry Exclusiv at £16,650 to top-of-the-range Elite at £19,830.
What’s it like?
Really rather unremarkable. Engine performance is sluggish; the car seems slower than even the claimed modest 10.9sec sprint to 60mph suggests. The engine does at least spread its torque evenly through the rev range, but never suggests it has more than the merest enthusiasm for the job. The five-speed gearbox is good enough, with more sensibly spaced ratios than its six-speed sibling found in other, more expensive Astras.