Open gallery Close by Autocar 1 July 2022 Follow @@autocar Share
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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.
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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.