From £12,240
Smaller engine for facelifted Astra SRi doesn't mean it's any less potent - just a bit cheaper to run

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Astra 2009-2015

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

Matt Prior
2 February 2007

What's new?

I don’t think facelifts get any less substantial than this. New front bumper, tweaked grille, whiter rear light glass, darker front light glass and a couple of new materials hither and thither on the inside. That's it for this, revised Vauxhall Astra. Low key, is the phrase. But “it was always our intention to only give Astra a mild facelift,” says Peter Vos, head of Opel Marketing. Why? “Because the Astra was such a progressive-looking and very competitive car.”

What's it like?

The Astra's exterior still looks good and the interior passes muster with the best in the class. The ride and handling remain unchanged too - which means positive, accurate steering and a very tidy ride-handling balance that’s up there with the Focus and Golf. This is still a very likeable car. What is a lot newer are two new petrol engines. There’s a revised, normally aspirated 1.6 petrol (up 10bhp to 113bhp) and, more interestingly, a new 1.6-litre turbo, replacing the 168bhp 2.0-litre turbo. It’ll just be badged ‘Turbo’ for the badge snobs. And it’s good. It generates 178bhp and, because of its smaller capacity, it’s peakier than the 2.0-litre. And then some. It’s a little flat at lower revs, really surges from the mid two-thousands and, in the wet, will scrabble the front wheels from there round to the red-line. It’s a smooth enough unit; but could be more eager higher round the rev-range and a touch more linear in its response. The six-speed gearbox it’s mated to is very slick and the performance claims (62mph in 7.8sec, 137mph flat out) are believable.

Should I buy one?

This Astra SRi is more economical and has lower CO2 than the older 2.0-litre. All things considered, then, it’s pretty good. Which is just as well – because the Corsa VXR, which we’ll drive in March, gets this very engine, only more powerful again. I wonder what the response will be like.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic
  • First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The newest version of Rolls-Royce's flagship model sets new standards for opulence and luxury whether you're driving it or being driven in it
  • Used BMW M135i
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    We have bought a used BMW M135i to see how far we can improve this rear-wheel-drive hot hatch
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
    First Drive
    19 March 2018
    The Mercedes-Benz E-Class could be all the estate car you’ll ever want — or it could be overkill. Let’s see which...
  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?