Vauxhall Astra (2015 – 2022) Review

Vauxhall Astra (2015 – 2022) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Although it can’t match the Ford Focus in terms of driver appeal, or the Volkswagen Golf in terms of comfort and quality, the Vauxhall Astra deserves more than to be labelled an also-ran.

+Solid all-rounder that’s good in all areas, cheap to run, excellent value as a used car and loads around, five star Euro NCAP rating.

-Heavy depreciation, dull styling and humdrum image, cabin lacks any design flair.

New prices start from £17,235
Insurance Groups are between 11–22
On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure

Look beyond the understated styling and you’ll find a surprisingly upmarket cabin, a generous level of standard equipment, efficient engines and some seriously tempting prices. It’s even better if you opt for a post-2019 facelift Astra. Put simply, you’ll get a lot of car for the money if you buy a Vauxhall Astra.

Appearances can be deceptive. The current Vauxhall Astra, introduced in 2015, might look similar to its predecessor, but there were big changes beneath the skin. Improvements across the board mean that the Astra is closer than ever to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, two cars that dominate the sales charts in the UK. Maybe it’s time to take a second look at the Astra.

Indeed, a subtle facelift in 2019 means that it’s better than ever. Good driving manners, a new range of engines and improved technology are just three of the reasons why a new Astra is such a compelling and credible choice. The 2015 car was good, but the new version is even better, thanks in part to input from Vauxhall’s new French owners.

The styling isn’t a highlight. Although design is a subjective matter, the Astra does little more than blend in with its surroundings. It also looks a little lacklustre when parked alongside one of the many crossovers and SUVs that are fashionable in 2020.

It’s a similar story inside. The cabin offers little in the way of flair and imagination, although the design is simple and modern. There’s a clear and logical layout to the dashboard and instruments, while the quality is high for a volume manufacturer. Highlights include excellent seats, a user-friendly design and a soft red glow from the buttons at night.

Practicality is good, especially if you opt for the Sport Tourer (estate). There’s also a fair amount of room in the cabin, although headroom in the back is a little tight, but less so in the Sport Tourer. Equipment levels are good, even on the entry-level version. Opt for Elite Nav or Ultimate versions for premium levels of kit at an affordable price.

That said, be wary of depreciation. The Vauxhall Astra is quick to shed its value, particularly in the early years, which means buying used is better than buying new. Indeed, the Astra is a used car bargain – an undiscovered gem of the second-hand market.

The driving experience is nothing to write home about, but to continue a theme, it’s better than you might think.

Although it lacks the precision of the Ford Focus, it’s an immensely satisfying car to drive. It’s also a little more mature than the Focus, making it feel like a cut-price Volkswagen Golf. For long distance driving, the Astra is hard to beat, especially if you opt for a diesel engine.

Don’t rule out the petrol engines, especially since the 2019 facelift. The 1.2-litre turbo, which is offered in three power outputs, is a little gem. A terrific blend of punchy performance and efficiency makes it a worthy alternative to the diesel engines.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we rather like the Vauxhall Astra. It’s dowdy image is a problem for other people, which leaves you free to discover one of the most underrated cars of 2020. Don’t be too disappointed if you’re handed the keys to an Astra when you book your next rental car.

Looking for a second opinon? Why not read heycar's Vauxhall Astra review.

Ask Honest John

Should I buy a car with turbo oscillation?

"I am about to buy a 2018 Astra Automatic. It has low mileage 7500, one owner since new, full service history but my AA inspection has thrown up turbo oscillation or turbo kick which gets more as you go up in speed. There are no fault codes. Garage has checked the car after the inspection and there are no faults. They are adamant that it is a good car and have even offered to extend warranty to 12 months from 3 months. Mot history is good and car comes with 10months Mot. Should I still buy? "
It is a wise decision to have a used vehicle inspected before purchase, and its value has been proven with the detection of the turbo issue. Whether you still choose to purchase the car is your decision, but it is worth bearing in mind that the dealer will still be keen to sell the car, and although an extended warranty may assist if there are problems down the line, you should consider whether this is more desirable than finding an alternative car without this issue.
Answered by David Ross

Are there parts supply issues with Vauxhall cars?

"I'm having trouble getting parts for a 2017 Astra. Is it because PSA took over and now they don't want to support the GM manufactured cars? I've been waiting three months for a gearbox mount with no eta available. "
Parts supply is still patchy for some manufacturers and some parts, although we would have expected the majority to have recovered from pandemic and semi-conductor issues. We would not expect the ownership of Vauxhall to impact parts supply, so depending on the garage you are using for the repairs you may wish to try and source the component from online parts suppliers rather than directly through the manufacturer.
Answered by David Ross

Is the Vauxhall 1.6 CDTi engine reliable?

"I am debating getting an Astra 1.6 CDTI but have heard some horror stories regarding the chain rattle and DPF issues on this engine. Am I just seeing the few bad cases (as you will never hear about the good ones) and providing I look after my car it will be completely fine or is it a legitimate issue that I should be aware off? My other alternative is to get a 1.4i (non turbo) Astra or 1.6 (non turbo) Astra in petrol form as these engines seem to be pretty decent on the reliability front. However, I am slightly concerned about their performance/overtaking and efficiency. "
We'd be interested to know why you would discount a petrol turbo model here, as the 1.4T is by far the pick of the Astra range from 2015-21. There are a number of documented problems with the diesel engines, the timing chain being the biggest bugbear. However, a well-maintained one should be fine - just factor in that you may need a tensioner and new chain at some stage down to simple wear and tear. The 1.6 non-turbo is a pretty reliable thing and while it's no performance car, it will be fine for your needs in most driving situations.
Answered by Craig Cheetham

What is the best used diesel hatchback for under £9,000?

"I am looking to upgrade to a newer diesel hatchback. I have up to £9,000 to spend and have singled out the Toyota Auris 1.6, Vauxhall Astra 1.6 and Volkswagen Golf 1.6 (all diesel). The Auris is my number one choice as reliability is crucial to me but unfortunately 1.6 models are rare. For my budget, I can get a 2017 Astra or a 2014 Golf, is one more reliable than the other? Can you recommend anything else within my budget? "
I would hold out for a Toyota Auris, it has an excellent reputation for low running costs and was recently rated as one of the UK's most reliable cars in our latest Satisfaction Index: Older versions of the Volkswagen Golf don't have the best reputations for reliability and I'd be more inclined to choose a Honda Civic over the Astra for build quality and fuel economy. According to Real MPG submissions, the Civic 1.6 i-DTEC will return at least 65mpg:
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Vauxhall Astra (2015 – 2022) cost?