Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 2022

0001 vauxhall astra sports tourer tracking front 2022
Practical, proficient and thoroughly modern, the Astra Sports Tourer is a genuine crossover alternative

The rejuvenation of the Vauxhall brand continues unabated as the company drastically reorganises its range, slashing 85% of derivatives to give buyers a clearer choice while maintaining a healthy cadence of new models. Next to land in showrooms is the Astra Sports Tourer, an estate variant of the eighth-generation C-segment Vauxhall Astra that is now vying for the top step on the class podium. Gone is the Astra’s boring image and dour interior. In are attractive lines and a much improved cabin. The proliferation of C-segment SUVs hasn’t helped sales of estates, but there remains a strong case for such cars, offering the style and handling of a hatchback with more space and palatable running costs. With a more aerodynamic shape and less weight in comparison to an equivalent SUV, the Astra Sports Tourer could be a viable alternative. While the Astra hatch didn’t impress with its practicality, Vauxhall has sensibly made the estate’s load-lugging ability one of its priorities. A wheelbase increase of 57mm adds room where it was needed most – in the back. An extended roof also helps on that score, improving space for rear-seat passengers in comparison to those in the Astra hatch. The overall length has been stretched by a considerable 268mm, too, to the benefit of boot space.With a 597-litre boot, shaped so it can swallow a washing machine, the Astra Sports Tourer lives up to its billing. A split-level floor, electric tailgate and in-car storage for the tonneau cover when you need to fold the 40:20:40-split seats forward (increasing capacity to 1634 litres) are sure to earn it brownie points with families. Up front, it’s the same as the hatch, with the Pure Panel dual 10.0in display set-up featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard while usefully retaining some physical buttons for essential controls. With GS Line models come heated sports-style front seats and you can have nappa leather upholstery with ventilation and massage functions. Aside from the odd bit of scratchy plastic, the cabin is well executed. Mirroring the hatchback, the Sports Tourer will be available with a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine in 108bhp (in Design trim only) and 128bhp guises, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel – also with 128bhp – and a 178bhp plug-in hybrid with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol and 109bhp electric motor fed by a 12.4kWh battery.The Hybrid-e, as it’s officially known, can drive electrically at up to 84mph and cover as many as 42 miles (according to lab-test conditions) without stirring its combustion engine. It’s smooth and quiet on electric power, if not particularly rapid. Low CO2 emissions of 25g/km and an 8% benefit-in-kind rate will be good news to company car drivers, although it’s only available as a sportier GS Line, making it the most expensive version, so you’ll need plenty of battery charging before recouping that outlay. Good thing it can take as little as two hours to recharge the battery, but shame that it reduces boot volume by 81 litres.Nonetheless, the PHEV is the most civilised and fastest model and, despite its extra weight, provides a comfortable and composed ride – if not the cornering agility its looks might suggest it has. It’s a match for the segment benchmarks such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf in the refinement stakes, though. Diesel is on the wane, but the 1.5-litre option gives a good account of itself on a long cruise. That’s partly thanks to the fitment of an eight-speed auto that keeps it spinning in its performance sweet spot, making the most of its low-down torque. It’s well isolated from the cabin and capable of returning over 62mpg, so is a solid long-distance hauler. A towing capacity of up to 1500kg is another plus. Vauxhall expects the 128bhp three-cylinder petrol tested here to be a popular choice. Across a mixture of roads, from German autobahns to sleepy hamlets, it rarely felt out of its depth. The engine is buzzy when pushed, but in a characterful way, and it’s more willing than most will expect from a three-pot engine. It’s flattered by the eight-speed auto. The six-speed manual is less satisfying to use, however, and the chassis is more composed than it is agile anyway, so the Astra won’t be chosen for its driver engagementby Dave Humphreys
Source: Autocar

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