One of the UK’s top-selling and best-loved cars, Vauxhall Astra is a household name for British car buyers with over three million sold in the UK over the last 40 years, including over 30,000 in 2018. More than 25 per cent of British motorists have either owned or driven an Astra, so reaction to a model with significant revisions will always be felt across the market.
The new Vauxhall Astra sets the standard for efficiency and low emissions with an all-new range of petrol and diesel powertrains. Building on the wide success of the outgoing model, customers will benefit from reduced CO2 and fuel consumption, as well as a series of class-leading technology and equipment.
Meticulous development in the wind tunnel also made a significant contribution to the reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of up to 21 per cent versus the outgoing model.
With a drag coefficient figure of just 0.26, the Astra leads the class for aerodynamics. And at 0.25 Cd, the Astra Sports Tourer is also best-in-class, too. These aero-benchmarks have been achieved through numerous measures, including an engine compartment cover, deflector-shaped rear axle control arms and a full-face shutter.
The upper and lower portions of the new Vauxhall Astra’s radiator grille automatically open and close independently of one another, further improving the frontal airflow. The underbody optimisation improves the drag coefficient by reducing turbulence.
The Astra’s chassis has undergone a number of improvements, too. New dampers provide greater bump control, even on poor surfaces, while the steering has received a new calibration, resulting in improved handling at higher speeds.
The new turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, which are as economical as they are lively, are primarily responsible for a marked improvement in Astra’s efficiency. The low consumption and CO2 figures are also thanks to the Vauxhall Astra’s six-speed manual gearboxes, the seven-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) and – for the first time at Vauxhall – a new nine-speed automatic.
The compact, three-cylinder, turbo petrol units are available with 1.2 and 1.4-litre displacements. With the new 1.2-litre petrol engine, the Astra achieves a 6kg weight loss versus the outgoing 1.4T (150PS) engine. With power outputs extending from 110PS to 145PS and maximum torque from 195Nm to 236Nm, they achieve an excellent balance between performance and efficiency.
The Astra 1.2-litre is combined with a smooth-shifting six-speed manual gearbox while the Astra 1.4-litre is available exclusively with a new seven-speed CVT. With the CVT, Astra drivers can enjoy the convenience of automatic gear changing or select gears themselves via the shift lever.
Integration of the water-cooled exhaust manifold in the cylinder head contributes to quick engine warm-up, which lowers emissions after a cold start.
Typical for Vauxhall is the excellent transient throttle response of the petrol engines – at 1,500 rpm.
The Vauxhall Astra’s 1.5-litre, three-cylinder diesel engines offer 105PS and 122PS, as well as 260Nm to 300Nm of torque. The common rail fuel injection system operates at up to 2,000 bar.
As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the most powerful diesel is available with the option of a smooth-shifting new nine-speed automatic transmission, which is makes its debut in the new Astra.
The new diesel engines feature an electrically-activated turbocharger with variable geometry turbine vanes and, like their petrol counterparts, a balance shaft in the block for additional refinement. Likewise, the exhaust manifold is also integrated in the cylinder head.
Optimum exhaust after-treatment of the Astra 1.5 diesel is delivered by the emissions reduction system consisting of a passive oxidation catalyst, AdBlue injector, SCR catalyst and Diesel Particulate Filter.
ADVANCED DRIVER ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS AND CONNECTIVITY
The new Vauxhall Astra is available with a new digital front camera, which is both smaller and more powerful than before thanks to a faster processor. It now not only recognises vehicles, but also pedestrians, greatly improving safety. Furthermore, thanks to the high-resolution camera, traffic sign recognition can now process even more traffic signs and show them as symbols on the display.
The digital rear view camera, available on selected models, is also more powerful, and works in conjunction with the new Multimedia Navi Pro infotainment system. The view of the traffic behind the vehicle on the monitor is more distinct and precise, while the contrasts are more visible in the dark.
Astra customers will enjoy high levels of connectivity with the smarter, faster and more intuitive Multimedia Radio, Multimedia Navi and Multimedia Navi Pro systems. All systems are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto without the need for the customer paying expensive subscriptions. The top-of-the-line Multimedia Navi Pro – already featured in the Vauxhall Insignia flagship – has an eight-inch colour touchscreen and can also be operated by voice control. Connected navigation services with real-time traffic information and online map updates make the journey more relaxed, while the navigation display itself appears with redesigned symbols in a fresher, more modern look. The same applies to the instrument cluster, which features a new digital speedometer.
Available as an option, is the E-Call emergency call function. If needed, help is just seconds away by pressing the red button. If the seatbelt tensioners or airbags are deployed, the system automatically makes an emergency call.
Comfort is a top priority in the new Vauxhall. A practical feature when travelling, compatible smartphones can now also be charged inductively via wireless charging on selected models. All the driver needs to do is place their smartphone into an opening in the centre console.
The high-end Bose sound system, featured on selected models, transforms the new Astra into a concert hall. Seven loudspeakers, including a RichBass subwoofer under the boot, ensure optimum listening pleasure. The driver and passengers are surrounded by a rich sound, regardless of where they are in the vehicle. In addition, up to eight different sound profiles can be stored via the digital amplifier.
Last but not least, the new Vauxhall Astra introduces a heated windscreen on selected models, making driving in the winter safer and more comfortable. Thin, almost invisible wires in the windscreen ensure that Astra drivers always have a clear view of the road on frosty days.
With an impressive drag coefficient of 0.26, the new Vauxhall Astra is leads the class for aerodynamics.
The aerodynamic design of the Astra plays a vital role in the challenge to reduce CO2 emissions. By reducing drag, and therefore also fuel consumption and emissions, Vauxhall is helping customers and fleet managers to achieve significant cost savings while promoting efficient driving. In total, the aerodynamic developments of the new Vauxhall Astra save 4.5g of CO2 per kilometre (in accordance with the WLTP cycle).
Key to the aerodynamic design of the new Astra is the active full-face shutter. The upper and lower portions of the grille can be opened and closed, even independently from each other, resulting in highly efficient driving under a variety of real-life conditions. For example, a ten per cent cut in drag results in a fuel consumption reduction of around two per cent in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), or up to five per cent when driving at 70mph. The reduction in drag achieved by the full-face active shutter alone lowers CO2 emissions of the new Vauxhall Astra by up to 2.0g/km.
The full-face shutter also delivers thermal advantages by delaying cooling down after switching off the engine, or by accelerating the engine warm-up after a cold start. This is especially important in winter, providing significant benefits in fuel consumption and comfort by heating the interior of the car.
In the pursuit for a truly aerodynamic design, Vauxhall engineers focused much of their attention around the underbody, wheels and wheel arches. The underbody airflow-improvements include a cover under the engine and transmission, panels at the front of the floor and an enlarged fuel tank heatshield that doubles as an air deflector. The ride-height has been lowered by up to 10mm, depending on trim level, and aerodynamically shaped control arms have been added to the rear axle.