The 2016 Vauxhall Astra has been revealed ahead of a Frankfurt debut and it’s smaller, lighter, better looking and smarter than the current Astra.
Being a competitor in the same market as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus can’t be a joy for Vauxhall and the Astra, but they’re back for more punishment nevertheless with this, the 2016 Vauxhall Astra.
Arriving a little earlier than Vauxhall probably planned after photos leaked out, the new Astra is the seventh generation of Luton’s challenge to the Golf and Focus and, in may ways, looks the most promising.
Sitting on a new lightweight platform that helps the Astra to shed some 130kg, and with looks that owe a nod to the Monza Concept from 2013, the new Astra manages to be slightly smaller (5cm shorter and 3cm lower) than the outgoing model and yet still offers improved legroom in the back. Clever trick.
And that loss in weight should help the new Astra make the most of its new engines too, with the new 1.4 litre petrol turbo delivering 143bhp and 184lb/ft of torque and promising to tempt buyers away from the dark side (diesels, that is) and if that doesn’t work there’s a 1.0 litre 3-pot with a less thrilling 103bhp.
But if you must have a diesel, and only if you must, Vauxhall’s 1.6 litre whisper diesel engines with anything from 109bhp to 158bhp will fill the need of everyone from the Sales Rep to the junior Area manager.
And whether the new Astra is a new family car or a rep-mobile, Vauxhall will keep you happy with OnStar (which holds your hand if you crash, and acts as an Astra agony aunt when you haven’t with its own wi-fi hotspot), IntelliLink R 4.0 compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to keep you amused and lots of tech like LED matrix headlights and Assists for everything from Lane Keeping to Parking.
On the face of it – and it’s a much improved face – the new Astra could well have the measure of the Golf and Focus (depending on how it drives).
But whether that’s enough to actually increase sales from the 59,00 who bought it last year, a modest third to the Golf’s 74,00 and the Focus’s 85,000, it’s hard to say. Sadly, it’s probably more about how well Vauxhall market the Astra than the Astra itself.
We’re expecting the new Astra to go on sale shortly after its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, at prices we don’t really expect to start at much more than the current Astra’s £15,445.