New 7th Generation Vauxhall Astra Facelift

The Vauxhall Astra has been in production for nearly 40 years. The Astra has consistently been one of the best selling UK cars during this period. The design of the Astra has had only subtle changes to the exterior and interior. Vauxhall claims that the Astra facelift version will be the most economical Astra they have made.

The outgoing Astra was hugely successful but required various technological advancements to keep up with its rivals.

Countless hours were spent in the WindTunnel, perfecting new aerodynamic developments. All of the upgrades have resulted in reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. With a drag coefficient (CD) of 0.26. The Astra is now the most aerodynamic car in the five-door hatchback class. The Astra Sports Tourer achieves 0.25 CD, putting it amongst the best in its class.

Vauxhall-Astra-frontview

The main change to the exterior is at the front. The radiator grille has been re-designed. The upper and lower portions open and closes automatically. This produces a reduction in drag by, improving airflow. A new sleek underbody has been designed to help reduce fuel consumption.

Vauxhall's new Astra is on average 200kg lighter than its predecessor. The weight saving has helped the overall economic performance. The ride feels nimble and crisp, both around town and in the twisty countryside. Developing a new chassis and shock absorbers have increased comfort levels. The suspension set-up has also been re-analysed to keep it in touch, with arch-rival, the Ford Focus.

The Vauxhall Astra has achieved the top 5 Star Euro NCAP safety rating. It comes with six airbags and a vast array of electronic aids. These work continuously to reduce the chance of driver error accidents. Various optional upgrade packages are available. Some come as standard on the different Astra trim levels.

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New turbocharged engines

Vauxhall has revamped the entire engine range. This is the main reason for such increases in economy and efficiency. In the petrol range, there is a 1.2-litre or a 1.4-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine.

The 1.2-litre comes available in power variations, 110hp, 130hp and 145hp. All three come fitted with a delightful six-speed manual transmission. These engines achieve excellent 51.4 – 54.3 mpg, under the new WLTP emissions tests.

Vauxhall-Astra-driver-display

The 1.4-litre engine develops 145hp and 236Nm torque. A new seven-speed, continuously variable transmission (CVT) is mated exclusively with this engine. Drivers have the option to use in fully automatic mode or can use the shift lever themselves to change gears.

The diesel option is a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged unit, with two power outputs - 104hp or 120hp. Both come fitted with the same six-speed manual gearbox found the petrol versions. There is the option to have the more powerful diesel engine equipped with Vauxhall's first-ever nine-speed automatic transmission. Choosing this option does reduce the torque by 15Nm, and also affects fuel consumption and emissions.

The new diesel units, also feature an electrically activated turbocharger. It utilises variable geometry turbine vanes (VGT). This allows it to develop more torque at lower RPM, faster acceleration and throttle response amongst others.

Vauxhall claims the CO2 emissions will reduce by up to 17%. This is thanks to a new advanced exhaust gas treatment system. The system consists of an AdBlue injector, SCR catalyst, passive oxidation catalyst and Diesel Particulate Filter. The Astra will also feature quick engine warm-up, helping to lower emissions from a cold start.

State of the Art Technology

The Astra currently comes with the brilliant GM (General Motors) OnStar telematics system. PSA, who now owns Vauxhall, has removed this from the new facelift version. It's been replaced with the optional E-Call emergency call function.

Vauxhall-Astra-driver-display

Vauxhall has fitted a new smaller but more powerful digital front camera. It now recognises pedestrians as well as vehicles, thus improving safety. Even more traffic signs can be processed and show as symbols on the driver display. There is a digital rear-view camera also available, which runs alongside the new Multimedia Navi Pro system.

The new Astra comes with three different infotainment systems; Multimedia Radio, Multimedia Navi and Multimedia Navi Pro. The standard touchscreen is 7-inch but, an 8-inch screen is available by opting for the Sat-Nav upgrade, with voice command. The instrument cluster now features a stylish new digital speedometer.

Each system is compatible with Andriod Auto and Apple CarPlay. Selected models come with a wireless charging pad for compatible smartphones. For anyone that loves listening to music while they drive, Vauxhall has an optional seven-speaker Bose sound system. The quality of sound is pure and clear, giving you the feeling of listing to your favourite artists live.

Vauxhall-Astra-interior

Vauxhall has also fitted the Astra with a heated windscreen on selected models. It will remove the frost from your windshield quickly and efficiently. It would have been nice to see this as a standard feature across the full Astra range.

Vauxhall simple yet stylish

Inside, Vauxhall has not tinkered with the styling too much. The dashboard has been thoughtfully designed to maintain a clean and professional feel. Buttons and controls are all very well placed and easily accessible to the driver. The steering wheel has a multitude of buttons, which, with a little practice, are easy to operate. Toggling some of the functions with your thumbs is not always easy and can be frustrating.

There is a healthy amount of space in the cabin for four adults. Alternative models in its range, however, have more significant space in the rear. The boot is 370 litres, not small, but by no means not substantial in comparison to its rivals. The VW Golf and Peugeot 308, offer 380 litres and 470 litres respectively.

Vauxhall-Astra-boot-capacity

There is a lot to like with the new facelifted Vauxhall Astra. Keeping to their successful design and comfort traits, Vauxhall has looked to improve on the sustainability of its popular Astra. There are seven different trim levels on offer and various optional packs to get the most out of your Astra. Introducing new economic engines, new suspension and new top-end technology will only further generate public interest. Estimated release date is November 2019.

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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
  • Kent