Vauxhall is rearming its venerable Astra to take on the thorny issues of a class-leading VW Golf, sharper new Ford Focus and Peugeot’s Car of the Year: the 308.
Luton will put the Astra on a strict diet, plumb in fresh engines, and offer a much-needed cabin update as the Astra and new Corsa supermini ride to Vauxhall’s rescue in 2015.
New Vauxhall Astra: the very first picture
This spy shot is the very first image of the new Vauxhall Astra. What’s new? It’s around 60mm longer than the outgoing model, its bonnet is taller (for better pedestrian crash test performance) and the door mirror has migrated from the A-pillar’s base to the door panel. It sounds like minor fiddling – but there’s more to the new 2015 Astra than this first picture lets on…
What new under the skin?
Vauxhall is aiming to strip 80kg from GM’s ‘Delta II’ platform, which currently underpins the existing Astra. With funds tight, Vauxhall needs to hone the components it already has, rather than betting the farm on a shiny new chassis. However, a dimensions stretch and weight saving should unlock more cabin space and a more agile, efficient drive.
Under the bonnet?
A family of turbocharged three-cylinder engines is on the way, ready to retire Vauxhall’s outdated range of four-pots. Like Ford’s Ecoboost range, the three-pots will be lighter and more efficient than the engines they replace, and be available in several different stages of tune for varying power outputs across the range family.
A dual-clutch automatic gearbox will also join the party, offering snappy gearshifts and strong claimed fuel economy and CO2 – good news for Vauxhall’s massive fleet market.
What else do we know about the new Astra?
Like the current car, the new Astra will be offered as a boggo five-door hatchback, a wagon-bodied ‘Sports Tourer’, and a rakish three-door ‘GTC’, the latter designed to pinch VW Scirocco sales. It’s not yet clear whether the leaner, cleaner new Astra range will be crowned with a replacement for today’s 276bhp Astra VXR hot hatchback.
Styling could be inspired by the lauded Monza coupe concept, and the interior is likely to ditch the button-heavy approach in favour of a cleaner, touchscreen-centric approach and cushier materials, as previewed in the facelifted Insignia.