Review: Vauxhall Astra (2015)

Rating:

More spacious than previous Astra. Originally available with decent 1.0 Ecotec petrol. Five star Euro NCAP rating. Good ride comfort. Revamped for 2020 with new RED2 3-cylinder engines and two new automatic transmissions. RDE2 diesel cuts BIK by 4%.

Doesn't move things on significantly from the old model. Engine failures in 1.4T reported.

Recently Added To This Review

4 October 2019

Report of repeated clutch trouble with 2016 Vauxhall Astra 1.4T bought used with 28k miles in March 2019. First clutch repair within a month under 60 day warranty because it was spongy and unresponsive.... Read more

2 October 2019

Report of 2016 Vauxhall Astra K 1.6CDTi 136 going in for emissions update and on the way home the low level oil warning message came up on the small info screen. Driver stopped the car and dipped the... Read more

28 August 2019 Prices of revamped 2020 Vauxhall Astra Amnnounced:

1.2 110PS SE 6-speed manual: £18,895 1.2 130PS SE 6-speed manual £19,185 1.4 145PS SE Stepless CVT: £20,875 1.5 105PS TD SE 6-speed manual: £19,905 1.5 122PS TD SE... Read more

Vauxhall Astra (2015): At A Glance

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the Vauxhall Astra K, from 2015 on, was merely a heavily revamped version of its predecessor, the Astra J, so similar are the two in design, but this is more than just a nip and tuck. It is in fact fresh out the box and based on a new platform. So, while it may not stray from the path in terms of looks, there are big changes elsewhere.

Most notably inside. The interior has been completely redesigned with a much neater layout and far fewer buttons. So the cluttered and button-heavy dash has gone to be replaced by a much easier to navigate design. The quality of the central touchscreen display is much improved and all the controls have a more solid feel to them.

In fact, the overall quality of the Astra is much improved, as it needed to be given the below par finish of the old model. Only the fiddly ventilation and air conditioning controls let it down. Some of the plastics could be better too, but these are only very small criticisms of what is a very comfortable and well put together cabin.

Comfort is certainly what the Astra does well: the ride quality is very good and at motorway speeds there's little road or wind noise, making it a relaxed car for long journeys in. What's not so good is the steering. While the Astra is accomplished in corners with good grip, the steering lacks feel and doesn't give you much in the way of confidence. It means the Astra isn't as good to drive as other hatchbacks.

That said, the Astra is primarily aimed at company car drivers and for those, running costs are more of a priority. Which is why Vauxhall has worked to improve fuel economy. A big part of this is weight reduction, which is as much as 200kg - the same as two rugby players - on some models, thanks to a lighter body shell.

Opt for the impressive chain cam 1.6 CDTi diesel - which the vast majority of Astra owners did - and the official figures say you'll be seeing 91.1mpg with CO2 of 81g/km. That's for the 1.6 CDTi 110PS ecoFLEX model, but if you want a bit more poke, the same 1.6 CDTi comes with 136PS or there's a top of the range 160PS BiTurbo model.

If you don't cover long distances then the petrol engines will suit you perfectly. The best is the new 1.0 Ecotec. This three-cylinder may at first glance seem too small for a car like the Astra but with a turbocharger boosting power to 105PS it has plenty of get up and go while still averaging a claimed 67.3mpg.   

The 2015 Astra was certainly much improved compared to the car it replaces, especially when it comes to the interior, while comfort levels are impressive. It's not exactly ground-breaking and doesn't move the game along, but it still has plenty of appeal and is offered at a very affordable price, which makes it very good value too.

For 2020 The Vauxhall Astra was revamped with completely new, very efficient GM developed 3-cylinder petrol and diesel RDE2 engines. 1.2 petrols develop 110-145PS, 1.5 diesels develop 105-122PS, there's a special high torque 145PS 1.4 (1,342cc) petrol engine with a 'Stepless' CVT automatic transmission, and an outstanding 9-speed torque converter automatic transmission available with the 122PS diesel. The huge RDE2 benefit for company drivers is 4% less BIK, saving £5 tax a week.

Vauxhall Astra 2015 Range Road Test

Vauxhall Astra New 2020 Drivetrains Road Test

What does a Vauxhall Astra (2015) cost?

List Price from £18,660
Buy new from £15,995
Contract hire from £162.05 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

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

Dimensions
Length 4370 mm
Width 2042–2402 mm
Height 1485 mm
Wheelbase 2662 mm

Full specifications

Inside, the new Astra is a real step up from the old car. The centre console is neatly arranged, with a much more logical button layout and a very responsive touchscreen system. Only the rather fiddly air conditioning controls let it down while storage could be better too. 

One oddity is the panel on the centre console which would appear an ashtray style compartment but is in fact just a blank panel.

The instrument binnacle is clear though, the steering wheel is smaller and nicer to hold and even the indicator stalks have been changed – about time too, since Vauxhall seems to have been using the same ones since the last century.

It’s not quite as plush or neat as the Golf, with a few slightly less impressive plastics used lower down in the cabin, but overall the it feels like a much better-made car than any Astra before. It’s spacious, too, with enough room for adults in the back row, although a rising window line will obscure visibility out of the car for smaller children.

Vauxhall has simplified its trim structure for the new Astra, with four grades to choose from. Prices are lower across the board, yet there is a good range of equipment.

Basic models get alloy wheels, air-conditioning and a seven-inch touchscreen, along with Bluetooth, USB connectivity and cruise control. Higher trim levels benefit from safety tech like lane keep assistance and front collision warning.

Perhaps the most important bit of technology is OnStar, available in SRi trims or higher. It provides a mobile WiFi hotspot and a one-touch phone link to a real person. That means owners can request help, whether in an emergency or just when they need to find a local coffee shop.

Vauxhall can even send the GPS route to the car for you directly, as well as check service status and various other details. There’s so much it can do we’ve written about it separately – click here for more information.

The boot is large at 370 litres, but it doesn’t have a flat load deck. For shopping trips that won’t be an issue, but the high load lip will make life difficult if you plan on hauling heavy, bulky items around. Folding the rear seats frees up a total of 1210 litres, but, again, the shape and load lip make the load area slightly less practical than it could be.

Standard equipment:

Design comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, six airbags, air conditioning, R4.0 IntelliLink audio system with digital radio, 7-inch colour touchscreen, USB & aux in, Bluetooth, multi-function trip computer, cruise control and steering wheel controls, electrically operated front and rear windows.

Tech Line adds a Navi 900 satellite navigation system with 8 inch colour touchscreen, leather steering wheel and adjustable front armrest.

Energy comes with 17-inch 10 spoke alloy wheels, heated front seats and heated leather steering wheel

SRi gets 17-inch five twin-spoke alloy wheels, the Driving Assistance Pack (Front Camera System, Traffic Sign Assistant, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indication, Forward Collision Alert with Collision Imminent Braking), OnStar, Sight & Light Pack, sports seats, sports switch, leather steering wheel and front foglights.

SRi Nav adds the Navi 900 satellite navigation system with 8 inch colour touchscreen.

Elite comes with 17-inch multi spoke alloy wheels, leather ergonomic sports front seats with extendable seat cushions, tilt and four-way electrical adjustment, a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear outer seats, OnStar, Sight & Light Pack, electronic climate control, front foglights, electrically foldable door mirrors and two USB chargers for rear seat passengers

Elite Nav adds the Navi 900 satellite navigation system with 8 inch colour touchscreen.

Corresponding fuel economy is as high as 62.8mpg for the manual diesels and 54.3mpg for the manual petrols.

Vauxhall Astra 2020 Dash

For 2020, the number of Vauxhall Astra trim level variations has been cut to SE, Business Edition Nav, SRI, SRI Nav, SRI VX Line Nav, Elite Nav and Ultimate Nav. Hatchback prices are £18,895 to £29,310. Prices of the cavernous ‘Sports Tourer’ estate in a more compressed range are £20,355 to £26,920: £1,470 more.

Vauxhall Astra 2020  Satnav Screen 1

We drove an Elite NAV 122PS diesel 9-speed automatic; an SRi VX-Line Nav 1.4 145PS CVT; and an Elite Nav 1.2 145PS manual.

Vauxhall Astra 2020 Infotainment Music

Inside, while the infotainment is enhanced with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, all models get an 8-inch central infotainment screen and the new AGR certified ergonomic seats are very comfortable, there’s still quite a lot of hard plastic trim. You’re not fed the perception of quality of a VW Golf; it’s more like a Skoda Octavia.

Vauxhall Astra 2020 Side Red Victor 3

More detail in Vauxhall Astra 2020 Drivetrains Road Test

 

Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Astra (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 (2015) like to drive?

With the majority of Astra models being chosen as company cars, it's no surprise that the 1.6 CDTi diesel is the most popular engine choice. The 'whisper diesel' - as Vauxhall christened it - is a great engine and extremely quiet, even at higher revs. In fact, it's one of the best 1.6-litre diesels on the market and is packed with lots of low-level torque.

There were originally three different versions but it's the ecoFLEX model with 110PS that's the most economical returning a mightily impressive 91.1mpg with CO2 of just 82g/km according to the claimed figures. Of course whether you see that in real world driving is another matter. Real MPG would suggest otherwise but even if you're seeing 75 per cent of that figure, it's still easy on fuel.

The standard 136PS version of the Renault derived 1.6 CDTi is the one we'd recommend: it's got a bit more zest than the ecoFLEX and doesn't need to be worked as hard. With 320Nm, it will happily deal with overtaking slow moving traffic and it's still efficient with a claimed 76.3mpg. Alongside the standard six-speed manual, this engine is also available with a six-speed automatic gearbox. However, if you want the top 1.6 CDTi diesel with 160PS it only comes in Elite and SRi trims.

Buying second-hand, if you aren't covering long distances or tend to do lots of short journeys, then a diesel is best avoided. Fortunately the petrol engines in the Astra range are very good. The standard 1.4-litre petrol in the entry-level models is a adequate, if nothing special, so we'd suggest going for the excellent 1.0 Ecotec engine. 

It may seem far too small for a car like the Astra, but it's actually a perfect fit with real get up and go thanks to the fact it's turbocharged. The 105PS may not seem very much on paper, but as the Astra is relatively light, it zips along very nicely. It's very smooth for a three-cylinder engine and although it only has a five-speed gearbox, it's still economical with a claimed 67.3mpg.

For more power, there was a 1.4 Ecotec in two versions - one with 125PS and a 150PS model. It's a flexible engine, with enough low down grunt and reasonable economy. The performance model in the Astra range (aside from the VXR) is the 1.6 Ecotec that develops 200PS and covers 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds thanks to peak torque of 300Nm.

This Astra is far more comfortable to drive than the Astra J. The suspension does a better job over poor road surfaces and there's much less vibration transferred into the cabin. What lets it down somewhat is the steering. While the Astra corners well with decent grip, the steering feels very artificial so it's hard to gauge what's happening underneath you.   

On the plus side, it's very good on the motorway thanks to impressive soundproofing and supportive seats, while in town the Astra is easy to park.

Vauxhall Astra 2020 F34 Red Road

For 2020, the Vauxhall Astra K was revamped, most significantly with a new range of RDE2 compliant 3-cylinder 1.2 and 1.4 petrol engines and 1.5 diesels. RDE2 compliance for diesels immediately means a 4% reduction in BIK for company diesel drivers, saving £5 a week in tax. And the 122PS 1.5 diesel 9-speed automatic is a peach. 

No need for paddles shifts because the transmission instinctively knows exactly which of its 9 ratios to be in for optimum performanace and economy in all circumstances. It's outstanding.

The chassis improvements work well, too. Some may not have liked the Astra K in its original format, but in the race track smooth roads around Bruntingthorpe airfield the car handled brilliantly.

The 1.4 petrol CVT automatic with its oddball chain cam 1,342cc 3-cylinder 145HP engine worked very well, too, developing maximum torque from 1,500rpm. While the 1.2 petrol 145HP 6-speed manual proved to be real fun to drive.

More detail in Vauxhall Astra 2020 Drivetrains Road Test

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 Turbo 59–60 mpg 11.2 s 102–104 g/km
1.0i ecoFLEX 59–64 mpg 11.2 s 99–102 g/km
1.0i ecoFLEX Easytronic 64 mpg 12.7 s 96 g/km
1.4 100 51–52 mpg 12.3 s 124–128 g/km
1.4 Turbo 125 49–52 mpg 9.2 s 123–128 g/km
1.4 Turbo 150 47–51 mpg 8.3–9.0 s 124–138 g/km
1.4 Turbo 150 Automatic 46–52 mpg 9.0 s 125–139 g/km
1.6 CDTi 110 67–86 mpg 11.0–12.5 s 88–110 g/km
1.6 CDTi 110 ecoFLEX 83–86 mpg 12.5 s 82–85 g/km
1.6 CDTi 136 61–74 mpg 9.6 s 99–121 g/km
1.6 CDTi 136 Automatic 59–64 mpg 9.7 s 115–130 g/km
1.6 CDTi 150 57–58 mpg - 126 g/km
1.6 CDTi 160 69 mpg 8.5 s 108–109 g/km
1.6 Turbo 200 43–46 mpg 7.8 s 141–146 g/km

Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Astra (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

78%

Real MPG

30–72 mpg

MPGs submitted

435

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 (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

What's a good car for commuting on a £10k budget that has Apple CarPlay?

I’m changing jobs shortly and that will require me to commute to Birmingham from my home in Kent (approx 150 miles each way) at least once occasionally twice a week. I’m looking for an economical hatchback or estate comfortable on long journeys and ideally with Apple CarPlay (I’m an avid user of Waze and podcast listener). I have up to £10k to spend. What do you recommend?
How about a Kia Cee'd? MY17 models and newer should have Apple CarPlay. They'll have the remainder of Kia's seven-year warranty, too, and will be very cheap to run. Also consider the Hyundai i30 (you'll get a newer-generation model for the money) or a Vauxhall Astra.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Vauxhall Astra (2015)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Diesel engine, Quiet cabin, Economical, Petrol engine, Cheap Tax and Small family.

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What do owners think?

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