Review: Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015)

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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.

Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015): At A Glance

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

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

List Price from £19,085
Buy new from £16,518
Contract hire from £162.05 per month

Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4290–4419 mm
Width 1753–2013 mm
Height 1415–1510 mm
Wheelbase 2614–2685 mm

Full specifications

Next, the body. It's very good looking, with a sporty coupe profile and the four side windows framed with a chrome strip. The obligatory daytime running lights run around the tops and sides of the headlights, warning of your presence without dazzling other drivers or concealing motorbike headlights. The dash is neatly done with an impressive array of switches and a neat little red LED dot that extends the speedo and rev counter needles to the outer edges of the scales to help you read them accurately.

But most important of all is the room inside. A tallish adult, or me with my hat on, can sit in the centre of the rear seat in comfort. It's true that some of the ‘quality' touches of the Mk VI Golf are missing, such as the velour lined glovebox, but we were driving the base specification ‘Exclusiv' model and it was only when I looked it up in the price list that I realised it was base spec. It certainly didn't feel base spec.Trims:


The interior features black cordoba cloth trim and standard equipment, including cd400 CD player/stereo radio with mp3 format and aux-in socket, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors and remote control central locking. Also included are 16-inch steel wheels with flush covers, a driver's seat height adjuster, 60:40 split rear seat and reach/rake adjustable steering wheel.


The S is available in black scene cloth trim, and in addition to the s, the interior features a chrome-bezelled steering wheel and ambient lighting in the centre console and roof. Cruise control is standard, and the steering wheel incorporates audio controls. There are supplementary storage areas in the front seat-backs and a covered storage container in the centre console.


SRI models ride on 17-inch, 5-spoke alloy wheels with 205/50 R17 tyres, and all apart from the 1.4-litre come with lowered and uprated sports suspension as standard. SRi interiors are trimmed in black lace cloth and feature an electric park brake, sports front seats, a multi-function computer and front seat armrest. In addition, the SRi has illuminated vanity mirrors, a three-spoke leather steering wheel and ambient lighting in the front doors. Outside, the SRi is has dark-style headlights, front fog lights and a chrome-effect side window surround. A flex-floor luggage compartment and front door sill covers complete the package.

For those buyers who wish to personalize their SRi further, Vauxhall will be offering a range of SRi line models in the near future. This adds 18-inch, 5-twinspoke alloy wheels, a front lower spoiler, rear lower skirt, rear roof spoiler and side sills to the standard SRi spec.


Externally SE (and Elite) models are identifiable by unique 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels with 205/50 R17 tyres. Inside, the cabin is trimmed with ribbon / morrocana fabrics and equipped with rain sensitive windscreen wipers, automatic lighting control with tunnel detection, an electro-chromatic anti-dazzle rear-view mirror and electric rear windows.


The range-topping Astra Elite's cabin is trimmed in perforated leather as standard and, in addition to the equipment found in the se, comes with ergonomic front seats which are heated and feature extendable cushions and electric adjustment. Dual-zone electronic climate control, electrically foldable door mirrors and a fold-down rear-seat centre armrest are also standard.

Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015) like to drive?

The first important reason goes back to the steam age. It's called the Watt's linkage and was originally designed by James of the same name to constrain the movement of a steam engine piston in a straight line. When applied to a car's rear suspension it prevents relative sideways motion between the axle and body of the car much more effectively than a single Panhard rod. In the case of the new Astra, it allowed the engineers to use much softer rear axle trailing arm bushes and fit softer springs without compromising the car's roadholding.

And it works sensationally well. The car takes bends so smoothly and naturally you can find yourself going 20mph faster through them. Yet at the same time the car has the ride quality of a good limousine, even on the 205/50 R17 tyres ours came fitted with. (Though these tyres do induce a bit of road noise.)

This is in complete contrast to Astras of old that gave "sporty" characteristics by virtue of a rock hard ride.

Second special feature of the new Astra is the electric power steering. This is a powered rack rather than a powered column, but, as with the new Megane, it allowed Vauxhall engineers to electronically tune the steering to feel right at all speeds and in all conditions. They succeeded, because you definitely do get the impression of being able to ‘feel' what the tyres are doing through the steering wheel without any muscle building exercise when parking.

There's a sensible range of engines. I.4 and 1.6 chain cam petrol , with and without turbos, 1.7 diesels in two outputs, and a 2.0 litre diesel. We drove the 140PS 1.4 turbo, that also pumps out 200Nm torque from 1,850rpm.

It doesn't feel quite as torquey from low revs as Renault's or VWs 1.4 petrol turbos, or Peugeot 1.6THP. But it's a very smooth and willing engine and pulls a very high 6th gear giving around 34-35mph per 1,000rpm. Fuel economy on the combined cycle is an excellent 47.9mpg, and CO2 of just 139g/km puts it into the £110 VED Band E.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX 67–72 mpg 13.8 s 104–109 g/km
1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX (start/stop) 72 mpg 13.8 s 104 g/km
1.4 46–51 mpg 12.9–14.0 s 129–146 g/km
1.4 100 49–51 mpg 12.9 s 129–136 g/km
1.4 87 51 mpg 14.0 s 129 g/km
1.4 Turbo 46–48 mpg 8.9–9.0 s 137–144 g/km
1.6 44–46 mpg 10.9 s 145–152 g/km
1.6 Automatic 39–40 mpg 12.5 s 165–172 g/km
1.6 CDTi 110 ecoFLEX 71–79 mpg 11.4 s 94–105 g/km
1.6 CDTi 136 ecoFLEX 67–76 mpg 9.7 s 99–111 g/km
1.6 Turbo 42 mpg 7.9 s 159–160 g/km
1.7 CDTi 57 mpg - 135 g/km
1.7 CDTi 110 60 mpg 11.6 s 123 g/km
1.7 CDTi 110 ecoFLEX 63–76 mpg 11.6–11.8 s 99–119 g/km
1.7 CDTi 125 61 mpg - 121 g/km
1.7 CDTi 125 ecoFLEX 63–67 mpg 9.9 s 110–119 g/km
1.7 CDTi 130 60 mpg 9.9 s 123 g/km
1.7 CDTi 130 ecoFLEX 66–76 mpg 9.9–10.4 s 99–114 g/km
1.7 CDTi ecoFLEX 63 mpg - 119 g/km
1.7 CDTi ecoFLEX 110 67 mpg 11.6 s 110 g/km
1.7 CDTi ecoFLEX 110 (start/stop) 76 mpg 11.8 s 99 g/km
1.7 CDTi ecoFLEX 125 63 mpg - 119 g/km
1.7 CDTi ecoFLEX 130 (start/stop) 76 mpg 10.4 s 99 g/km
1.8 43 mpg - 156 g/km
2.0 CDTi 58 mpg - 129 g/km
2.0 CDTi (start/stop) 61 mpg - 123 g/km
2.0 CDTi 165 ecoFLEX 63 mpg 8.5 s 119 g/km
2.0 CDTi 16V 58 mpg - 129 g/km
2.0 CDTi Automatic 47–50 mpg 8.6 s 148–158 g/km
2.0 CDTi BiTurbo 55 mpg 7.8 s 134 g/km
2.0 CDTi ecoFLEX 61–63 mpg 8.5 s 119–123 g/km
2.0 CDTi ecoFLEX (start/stop) 63 mpg 8.5 s 119 g/km

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

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


Real MPG

23–72 mpg

MPGs submitted


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.

What have we been asked about the Vauxhall Astra (2009 – 2015)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

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
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What do owners think?

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  • 5 star 17%
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  • 3 star 17%
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  • 1 star 17%

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