Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015) Review

Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015) At A Glance

4/5

+Good combination of ride quality, steering and safe handling. Strong yet economical 1.4 turbo engine. Frugal CDTi diesels. Neatly styled interior.

-Lesser 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines less impressive. Several reports of failure of 6-speed manual gearbox on 1.4T.

Insurance Groups are between 7–26
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

The Vauxhall Astra has been one of the most popular cars in the UK but that doesn't mean it has always been the best. But with this version of the British built Vauxhall Astra, the firm has come pretty close to producing the perfect all-round hatchback. Other cars may be better in certain areas, but the Vauxhall Astra is extremely competent across the board with impressive refinement and a comfortable cabin.

The design may not particularly adventurous, especially considering the previous Vauxhall Astra was such a sharp and distinctive design, but the sleek look is attractive, albeit a little anonymous. But look past that and you'll find a fine car that's also well built.

The interior is neatly laid out and has an upmarket feel with a stylish steering wheel and high-grade materials. Compared to the previous Astra this is a huge improvement. This Vauxhall Astra is also much better on the road with a far more forgiving ride and a 'big car' feel on the motorway. It's perhaps not as enjoyable to drive as Ford Focus or Honda Civic, but it's composed in corners and tidy nontheless.

Add in a wide range of efficient engines, including a great 1.4-litre Turbo and a super-economical 1.3 CDTi that can average 68.9mpg and there's much to like about the Vauxhall Astra. If you're buying a hatchback, this is an essential model to consider. 

Vauxhall Astra 2010 Road Test and Video

Vauxhall Astra BiTurbo Road Test

Vauxhall Astra 1.6CDTI 136 Road Test

Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015)

RealMPG

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

76%

Real MPG

23–72 mpg

MPGs submitted

1672

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

Satisfaction Index What is your car like to live with?

We need your help with our latest Satisfaction Index, so that we can help others make a smarter car buying decision. What's it like to live with your car? Love it? Loath it? We want to know. Let us know about your car - it will only take a few minutes and you could be helping thousands of others.

Help us with the Honest John Satisfaction Index now

Ask Honest John

I need a reliable car for £5000. What's your advice?
"I'm looking at spending no more than £5000. I would like a Vauxhall Astra and it needs to be diesel. I'm hoping to get one that is around 5-7 years old with less than 60,000 miles with a good or full service history. I've just been made redundant and lost my company car so I'm using all my redundancy pay on getting me something reliable. Am I looking at the right car?"
You need to be careful about buying an older diesel. They can suffer from a wide range of issues and can be expensive to repair. This is especially true if you don't cover many miles, or use the car for a lot of short journeys. In this case, the diesel particulate filter (DPF) can get blocked. Even if you do cover high miles, you might find that a low-mileage example already has issues when you buy it. For that reason, you might be better looking for a higher mileage car - a used Astra diesel that's done 120k miles on the motorway will be a much better option than one that's done 60k of short journeys. If you're not covering lots of miles (more than 12k a year), you'd be better looking for a petrol or hybrid alternative. How about a Toyota Prius? They're popular with taxi drivers for good reason - they're extremely reliable and cheap to run. Alternatively, consider a more conventional petrol choice like a Honda Civic.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you recommend a used car for towing a small caravan?
"We're buying a small Caravan (about 900kg) and would like to upgrade our 2007 Honda Civic 1.4 automatic. We have a budget of £5000. We'd like to balance a strong enough engine with reasonable fuel economy and servicing costs. We're not wedded to any particular body shape but ideally would not have a huge car to drive around when not towing. My wife prefers automatics. Are you able to offer any advice please? Thank you!"
Generally, it's advised that you shouldn't tow more than 85 per cent of the car's kerb weight. That means you'll need a car with a kerb weight of at least 1060kg (and a towing capacity of 900kg or more). Most cars the size of your Civic should be able to tow a caravan the size of yours. A diesel makes a lot of sense for towing (thanks to the low-down torque on offer), but these aren't suited to lots of short day-to-day journeys. We'd recommend a Kia Ceed, Vauxhall Astra or another Honda Civic.
Answered by Andrew Brady
My car only blows cold air from the heater - what's the problem?
"I have a 2010 Vauxhall Astra that is blowing cold air only. I have checked the coolant levels and they're fine. What could be the problem?"
Does the engine reach its normal working temperature after 10 minutes of driving? If not then suspect the thermostat. If it does then you need to check the two pipes that go through the bulk head (to the heater matrix). If both are cold then suspect the heater control valve. If one is hot and the other cold then suspect that the heater matrix might be blocked. If both pipes are hot then would suspect that the heater flaps are either stuck or have a electrical fault.
Answered by Alan Ross
Spark plug was smashed after being hit by a piston - does this require an entire engine rebuild?
"I have a 2011 Vauxhall Astra that went into limp mode when I was going about 65mph. I pulled it off the road and the car would not start, it would crank but not ignite. After being recovered home I had a local mechanic out to take a look, he discovered that one of my spark plugs has been smashed, most likely after being hit by piston. The timing chain had slipped a little too. I was told that it would most likely need a rebuild and was quoted £1500 for the job. Would I not be able to just replace the spark plugs and coil pack and save myself all that money?"
If your timing belt has slipped then it is likely that the pistons have hit the valves and it is a damaged valve that has smashed the spark plug. The damage inside the engine is likely to be expensive.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015) cost?

Buy new from £15,495 (list price from £20,320)
Contract hire from £238.86 per month