Vauxhall's eighth generation Astra is now a cooler, more fashionable family hatch choice. Jonathan Crouch drives it.

Ten Second Review

The Vauxhall Astra. It's long been the staple of the company car park and this eighth generation version aims to combine this model line's traditional no-nonsense appeal with a bit of extra flair, courtesy of French-derived underpinnings which also bring the option of electrification.


For years, Vauxhall has struggled to make its Astra an engaging showroom choice in the family hatchback segment, but perhaps it's time has come. This eighth generation model was the last model in the brand's line-up to move away from the platforms of previous company owner General Motors and adopt the Stellantis Group EMP2 underpinnings and engines used in similarly-sized Peugeots and Citroens. But as you can see from the pictures, it retains very much its own identity. And yes, you'd notice one in the showroom.

Which is a definite step forward from an era where an Astra was a choice you made based on price or efficiency. But very rarely on heart or desire. Yes, underneath, it's basically the same as a Peugeot 308 or a DS 4; but you feel here that Vauxhall is at last reinventing itself as a more interesting brand with cars like this one. Let's take a closer look.

Driving Experience

We've never had an Astra with Stellantis Group Peugeot and Citroen-derived engines. We have now. This change, necessitated by the switch to this MK8 model's EMP2 platform, doesn't bring any particular advantages in performance or economy over the previous GM units but it does at least allow this model line to offer an electrified option. Most Astras will be sold with a three cylinder 1.2-litre petrol turbo unit - there are 110 or 130PS options. Whatever your choice, it'll come with a 6-speed manual gearbox, with an 8-speed auto an option on the 130PS model. A four cylinder 1.5-litre 130PS auto-only diesel is available too.

This Astra's electrified engine technology comes in the form of plug-in hybrid PHEV tech, mating a four cylinder 1.6-litre petrol turbo unit with a 110PS motor embedded in the 8-speed auto gearbox. There's a choice of two versions of this Plug-in Hybrid powertrain, one with a combined output of 180PS, the other fitted to the sportier GSe variants with 225PS, those GSe models featuring sharper steering and firmer, lowered suspension. Either way, expect an EAER-rated all-electric driving range of around 42 miles. Your other option is the full-EV Astra Electric, which has a 154hp motor powered by a 400-volt 54 kWh battery with a driving range of around 250 miles.

Design and Build

Did you ever think an Astra would look like this? Present and correct in both hatch and Sports Tourer estate versions of this more striking looking eighth generation model is the 'Vizor'-style front end lately adopted for the brand's Mokka and Grandland SUVs. It's flanked by sparkling LED headlights, which at the top of the range are upgraded to 'Intellilux' status, which gives each lamp 84 individual LED elements. There are also larger wheel arches housing bigger rims of 16 to 18 inches.

It's radically different inside too, thanks to the introduction of Vauxhall's 'Pure Panel' design, which banishes buttons and is based around sophisticated 10-inch centre dash and instrument screens. The centre monitor incorporates wireless 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring and there's a Head-up display fitted at the top of the range. There’s a larger 422-litre cargo area, which offers an adjustable height base. The alternative Sports Tourer estate version offers 608-litres of space. With the Plug-in Hybrid versions, the respective capacity figures are 352-litres and 548-litres.

Market and Model

The previous seventh generation Astra had the virtue of being priced significantly under the levels of its direct competitors. Vauxhall's current owners have no interest in continuing that policy, so this MK8 model is pitched in the same £25,500-£40,000 price bracket as most of its direct rivals. Obviously, there'll be a slight premium (think around £1,200) on those figures if you want the alternative Sport Tourer estate version, rather than the standard five-door hatch. There are three mainstream trim levels on offer - 'Design', 'GS Line' and 'Ultimate', plus with the Plug-in Hybrid 225 model, there are performance-orientated GSe variants.

With all Astra derivatives, you can expect plenty of equipment for the money, with standard features like full-LED headlights, digital instrument dials, a head-up display and standard wireless 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring for the centre dash screen. You'll now be able to specify your Astra with larger wheels - up to 18-inches in diameter - and above base trim, you get a 2-tone paint finish.

Cost of Ownership

The Peugeot and Citroen-derived PureTech and BlueHDi engines in use here have already proven to be extremely efficient in other Stellantis Group cars we've tried them in and of course the same is true of this Astra. Think 52.3mpg on the combined cycle and 123g/km of CO2 for both versions of the 1.2 Turbo petrol engine with manual transmission; and 58.9mpg and 127g/km of CO2 for the 1.5-litre Turbo D 130PS diesel. These figures are helped by this eighth generation Astra's relatively light weight, gained through the use of high-tech materials such as the latest thermoplastics. Low rolling resistance tyres also play their part.

Vauxhall will sell only EVs from 2028. For the time being though, the Astra's electrification is varied. Your first option lies with PHEV tech. You'll find 3.7kW single-phase charging supported as standard, which means recharges will take three hours and 50 minutes. A 7.4kW on-board charger is available as an option and plugged into a wallbox, the battery will take one hour and 50 minutes to be topped up.

The Astra Electric has a 400-volt battery with 50kWh of usable capacity (54kWh gross) and should go around 250 miles between charges.


This eighth generation Astra won't sell in the kinds of numbers we saw with earlier models, but that's to be expected. These are different times. And this is a very different Astra. A better one? This car gives reason to add the Astra to your family hatch shopping list once more.


CAR: Vauxhall Astra

PRICES: £25,290-£40,400 – on the road



CO2 EMISSIONS: 23-132 g/km {WLTP}

PERFORMANCE: {1.2 130hp petrol} 0-62mph 9s / Max Speed 130mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: {1.2 130hp petrol} 55mpg {combined – WLTP}

BOOT CAPACITY: [litres] 422

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Width/Height 4374/2062/1441mm