A swift glance is all it takes for one to fall in love with the lines of this car. The Vauxhall Astra SRi, at present, is one of the best looking cars in its class. Its lines are very dynamic and its silhouette, extremely svelte, resembles that of a super model. Well, perhaps not that svelte, but you got the picture. Jokes aside, the looks do stand out and the Astra was Vauxhall’s fourth bestselling vehicle in the UK last year, which should say a thing or two about the model we’re reviewing.
The Astra is offered in no less than 9 levels of trim on the official Vauxhall UK site, and the one on which we’re concentrating is the SRi.
In standard form, it comes in at £18,735.00, VAT inculsive. A 1.4 litre petrol engine powers it, developing 100bhp, a manual 5 speed, and a mileage revolving around the figure of 51.4 mpg mixed cycle. Of course, that’s not the only option, as Vauxhall offers no less than 9 different types of motorisations, petrol and diesel. The most powerful petrol is the 140bhp 1.4 litre VVT Turbo, with a manual 6-speed and an estimated mileage of 49.6 mixed cycle. The diesel offer starts with a 1.6 litre CDTi EcoFlex (110bhp) with a mileage of 76.3 mixed, which is quite impressive to say the least and a 97g/km carbon dioxide emission, one of the lowest we’ve encountered. This offer also includes a start/stop system, which will come in very handy as it will help you save fuel. The top-of-the-range diesel is the 2.0 litre CDTi, developing 165 bhp and 350 N/m of torque. The mileage rating on this one is lower – given the increased power output – and it clocks in at 50.4 mpg mixed cycle and it includes an automatic 6-speed transmission. At £23,850.00, it’s also the most costly from the Vauxhall Astra SRi range.
Regardless of motorisation, the Vauxhall Astra SRi comes with a jet black lace cloth interior and 17 inch alloy wheels, sports front seats, steering wheel mounted audio controls, a surround ambient sensor for the centre console and a hill climb assistant. Two colour options are offered at no extra cost – Royal Blue and the two-tone Power Red while metallic and pearlescent colours cost an additional £545. Adding a leather interior will further set you back £1.050, while a set of five spoke 19 inch alloys adds a further £595. Should you be interested in buying this Vauxhall Astra SRi, we would advise you to avoid costly option just for the sake of ticking every box and instead focus on getting the best value for money.
In terms of design, the Vauxhall Astra SRi makes the Ford Focus and the VW Golf look almost lifeless, as its sculpted styling is bound to attract attention. Following the same theme as the rest of the Vauxhall range, the Astra has a long, swooping bonnet, a large front air intake and nicely profiled headlamps. The interior is very well designed and it gives the impression of being much more premium than the price tag may lead you to believe. However, it suffers a bit in terms of ergonomics, as the controls as not as intuitive as in some of the rivals.
Vauxhall Astra SRi – 5 Point Review
The front of the Vauxhall Astra SRi is dominated by the large bumper, featuring a huge, “smiling” air intake, which, in combination to the sharp grille and the sharp lines of the headlamps, turns into a grin. The sides are very clean, with smooth lines running all the way to the back of the car and depending on the angles, the way the light reflects off it is fascinating, inviting you for even more looks. The rear is dominated by the slant window, which breaks the profile of the car, turning into a hatchback. The rear lights continue the same theme established by the front ones, having similar styling, while the rear bumper includes a single exhaust, on the left side.
As mentioned before, the interior looks premium even without the leather upholstery option, which is a very nice touch, as it fits the exterior image of the car. The steering wheel, housing the audio controls, may be reminiscent to some auto enthusiasts of some past Cadillac models. What we didn’t like about the instrument cluster was that the small screen that showed fuel consumption, squeezed between the two large gauges, the rev counter and the speedometer, was monochrome. Other competitors in the same class offer better styled digital windows, but perhaps the new generation will solve this minor gripe.
Try to avoid the basic engine variants, as they might seem underpowered. Considering the size of the car, a small engine with a humble power output may not be able to provide you with the best driving experience in the world. Competitors such as the VW Golf, for example, offer rear multilink suspension but the Astra includes only a strut based system. However, the Vauxhall Astra SRi has firmer suspension settings and is able to provide a decent driving experience. Not brilliant, but better than basic trims and better than other rivals in the class. The steering is precise and doesn’t feel heavy, and very little body roll is felt. For the top contender, go to the VXR variant, but the SRi seems to be the best compromise between sportiness and comfort in the range.
As much as the Vauxhall Astra SRi wins in terms of looks, it suffers at the reliability chapter. Although a new car shouldn’t be experiencing difficulties, as the components are new and safe from wear and tear, some owners have reported gearbox issues and electrical failures and these haven’t been isolated incidents. In accordance, we would advise you to take advantage of the manufacturer warranty that Vauxhall is offering for new cars – unlimited years or the equivalent of 100,000 miles – and not skip scheduled maintenance appointments and, moreover, if you happen to have the money, purchase a maintenance plan in order to avoid unexpected surprises.
The best mileage is offered by the diesel variants, but that should have come as no surprise. The 1.6 litre CDTi 16v, with 110bhp and a manual 6-speed offers the best figures from all the other motorisation options, with an estimated figure of 76.2mpg mixed cycle. It also offers a start/stop system, which means that when your engine is idle – say at a red light – it will turn itself off to save gas and start again – obviously – when prompted.
Vauxhall Astra SRi’s boot is not very large – it measures only 351 litres. Extended, by folding the back seats, it can expand to 1,260 litres. The slanting rear window is the main culprit for the limited storage space, but design has won over functionality in this case. The car rivals the Insignia in terms of interior space, as its dimensions are very large – it’s one of the largest in its class – and that can only be a good thing, as the passengers in the back won’t feel cramped or hindered by a low roofline or insufficient leg space.
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