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Vauxhall Astra spy shots (2010)

Published: 09 April 2008

We've caught Vauxhall’s new Astra pounding around the Nurburgring and testing on the surrounding streets. The new Astra will feature downsized and turbocharged engines, Insignia-inspired styling both inside and out, and underpin Saab’s new 9-1 hatchback. A pretty crucial car for GM, then.

Vauxhall Astra: the styling

The current Astra was a landmark car for Vauxhall, banishing memories of lacklustre designs of the past. Expect another step forward with the new car, following on from the new Insignia, which is shaping up to be the best-looking car in its class.

On the nose will sit the new Griffin badge, flanked by Insignia-inspired headlights, but the lower air intake will be much more prominent than on its saloon big brother.

We’ve spied the five-door Astra testing but there will be a sleeker, more sporting three-door, plus estate and folding hard-top variants.

The rear profile of the five-door will be more upright and practical than its coupe sibling, though the roof still slopes away steeply after the C-pillars. The rear light clusters sweep around the haunches and will feature LEDs.

Click here to see Vauxhall's new Griffin badge

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Vauxhall Astra: the engines

Companies like VW, Fiat and Renault have stolen a march on Vauxhall with turbocharged and downsized engines. The benefits are less weight, more power, more torque, fewer emissions and better fuel economy. The new Insignia will be the first Vauxhall to have the new range of engines, and many of them will be available in the Astra.

The Astra range will start with a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine, already previewed in the Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept. There it produced 170bhp (or 200bhp running E85) but expect lower-power variants too.

A VXR model will top the range, and be as rampant as today’s model. There’s been no word yet on whether the new platform will be able to accommodate four-wheel drive, so if not expect torque-steering action. A diesel VXR could also be on the cards.

Vauxhall Astra: the variants

The new Astra will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009, before going on sale in the UK at the start of 2010. As well as the four bodystyles, the Astra will of course appear as an Opel on the Continent, and will be rebadged as a Saturn Stateside.

The big news is that the Astra will also provide the underpinnings for the new Saab hatch due in 2010. Expected to be called 9-1, it was previewed at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show and should finally give Saab a new product in the big-selling Golf class.

Expect the Astra to start from £15,500, and the Saab from £16k when it goes on sale at the end of 2010.

Click here to see Vauxhall's new Griffin badge

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy