► Vauxhall releases more information about the new Astra
► Plug-in hybrid variant, EV details, new interior tech
► Autumn 2021 orders, deliveries start in 2022, EV in 2023
Vauxhall continues its drip feed of new information about the upcoming eighth-generation Astra in order to whet our appetites for what could well be the most appealing version since the 1980s. Now closely related to the Peugeot 308, the new Astra will come in petrol, diesel, plug-in and – eventually – electric versions.
Designed to fight the Focus, Golf, Ceed and beyond, the new Astra is reborn with a revolutionary new design that shakes off the cloak of conservatism that shrouds the current model and introduces a fair desgree of desirability. As well as the striking new looks, the Astra will be available with a generous helping driver-assistance tech.
Here's what we know so far.
A seismic styling shift for the Astra
The latest Astra is another sharp-looking car from design boss Mark Adams and his team. The brand's 'vizor' frontal arrangement is present and correct – this time with small vents in the grille if you compare it to the new Mokka – with horizontal DRLs and clean surfaces. The rear end gets the same angular treatment – there's barely a curve in sight.
Inside, a clean cockpit layout steals your attention. There's a new steering wheel design – one that'll presumably make its way onto other new Vauxhalls in the coming years – and a progression of the 'Pure Panel' screen layout, with two 10-inch screens merged together in one solitary design element.
Mark Adams, Vice-President Design, Vauxhall, said: 'With its bold Vizor front face, strong muscular wheel arch blisters and sheer surfacing, the All-New Astra has a very sporty and confident personality. The interior also takes a bold step into the future. The strong driver-orientated cockpit with seamless glass look of the new Pure Panel will bring a whole new emotional experience to our customers.'
Petrol, diesel, PHEV and electric available
It's a predictable bunch, given the Astra's DNA with the all-new Peugeot 308. There'll be 108 and 127bhp familiar petrol and diesel options, with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic on offer – depending on what engine you choose. If you want more, you're going to need to buy a plug-in hybrid.
And it's this pairing of plug-in hybrid variants with 177 and 222bhp that will really up the performance ante. The lower-powered PHEV gets a WLTP fuel consumption figure of 256.8mpg and puts out 24 g/km CO2, while the 222bhp model makes 201.8mpg and 31g/km. Assuming the batteries are charged up. When so, you'll be able to go a claimed 35 miles on electric only.
Acceleration from 0-62mph is 7.9 and 7.7 seconds respectively. It's a given that it'll also be the quickest accelerating version. That is, until they roll out the inevitable 295bhp four-wheel drive PHEV to mirror the Peugeot Hybrid4 system.
Finally, Vauxhall has confirmed there will be a electric version, called the Astra-e. No techical details have been released yet, but its arrival means that aside from the Insignia, there will be an EV version of all models in its range. Beyond that, the company's line-up will be electrified across the line-up by 2024 and solely fully-electric from 2028.
What's under the skin?
Given the use of the Stellantis EMP2 platform, Vauxhall says the new Astra is 4mm longer but with a 13mm increase in its wheelbase – giving it the same wheelbase as the all-new Peugeot 308. Not a surprise. Vauxhall says the new Astra is also 14 per cent more torsionally rigid than before.
It features McPherson strut suspension at the front and torsion bar at the rear – at odds with its closest sparring partners, the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, which also offer an independent set-up for more powerful models. Will buyers notice?
The boot space is rated at 442 litres with the rear seats up, making it roomier for your luggage than a Ford Focus, VW Golf and Kia Ceed, but smaller than a Honda Civic.
Any tech upgrades?
The new Astra will debut a new infotainment system to take full advantage of the new Pure Panel screen layout, ditching the laggy, low-res and clunky OS used by almost every former-PSA-now-Stellantis model from Citroen, Peugeot, DS etc. We don't know if it's any easier to use yet, but we've got our fingers crossed...
Elsewhere, Vauxhall's excellent IntelliLux matrix LED lights will be an option, as will the latest automated driver assistance systems. Five cameras and five radar sensors as well as ultrasonic sensors front and rear will be used to feed the adaptive cruise control system that Vauxhall calls its Intelli-Drive set-up.
In adaptive cruise, the car will be able to adapt its speed in bends, make speed recommendations and assist in semi-autonomous lane changes. As per rivals systems, it will match the speed of the car in front and come to a full stop if necessary. Other driver-assistance systems include long-range blind-spot detection, 360-degree parking camera and active lane positioning. That should put it on the pace of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.
Finally, long distance drivers will be happy with the AGR-certified ('Aktion Gesunder Rücken' or 'Campaign for Healthier Backs') seats – a favourite of Opel/Vauxhall. They are 12mm lower and offer 'comfort' and 'sport' contouring via electric adjustment here. Vauxhall says Nappa leather and alcantara upholstery are on the options list.
New Vauxhall Astra: price and release date
CAR expects prices to start at around £20,000, with orders opening in autumn 2021. The first ones will be delivered in the first few months of 2022.
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