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Iceni Magazine | December 10, 2019

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Vauxhall Astra 1.6 Diesel Reviewed

Tim picBy Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist
Follow Tim on twitter: @carwriteups

Vauxhalls have never been at the top of my list of ‘must have’ cars. And that’s strange, because I’ve owned two of them. They were both Astras, and I liked them.

The last one I bought was back in 2000. It was silver and had an Irmscher body kit. It looked great at the time. Or maybe I thought it did because I was still in my twenties then and only had myself to please.

These days, well, I am a dad with a whole different set of priorities about what I need from a car. Back then, the Astras were big enough. Roomy for me and my girlfriends, if you know what I mean? I didn’t give a hoot about the size of the load area or how much legroom my rear seat passengers had.

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Now, with three kids, I look at how easy it is to fit child seats in a motor. I check out if the boot will swallow a pushchair and a weekly shop. All sorts of boring things like that. And do you know what? Yes, the current Astra is great for strapping an eight year old, a five year old and a two year old in the back seat. It drives well and with a 1.6 CDTI engine, it’s efficient and feels like it could just about tow a trailer or caravan. My wife had enough legroom in the front and we could all find our way to wherever we were going, thanks to a decent built-in sat-nav unit.

But do you know what the Astra’s biggest down-side is? The boot. It is simply not big enough for a family-of-five’s needs. I stuck my two year old daughter’s buggy in there and it took up the entire load area. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but honestly, I could only squeeze other stuff, like bags of shopping in around the edge. There is no way that I could live with this car if we were all going on holiday in it. I’d need one of those horrible coffin-shaped, non-aerodynamic, fuel wasting, roof boxes to fit all the gear in.

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It is a shame, because in every other respect the new Astra is a good car. It feels solid, it has airbags everywhere, it’s comfortable, economical, has decent pulling power, and it even has a great sounding music system.

Am I just being picky? Probably. But I am speaking from a family man’s point of view. And I bet I form a large percentage of the market that Vauxhall is aiming the Astra at. Would I buy one again? Almost certainly – if I was single or just had a partner. But now I’m middle-aged (ish), grumpy and with kids, probably not.

Still, the Astra is a good looking, economical, car and you should never dismiss anything before you try it for yourself. For value for money, it’s a great motor – and you get a lot of car for the dosh – just not a very big boot.

PROS ‘N’ CONS 

  • Pulling power √
  • Efficiency √
  • Comfort √
  • Kit √
  • Small boot X

FAST FACTS 

  • Max speed: 115 mph
  • 0-60 mph: 11.4 secs
  • Combined mpg: 76.3
  • Engine: 1598cc 16v turbo diesel
  • power (bhp): 108
  • torque (Ib/ft): 221
  • CO2: 97g/km
  • Price: £18,910

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