2016 Vauxhall Astra review – new Astra is best yet, but can it excite?

With an excellent engine and an outstanding ride the new Astra has some great attributes, but sadly it isn’t a drivers’ car

Evo rating
Price
from £15,295
  • Great engine, unexpectedly fast and feels well built
  • Overall, just not very exciting

evo Verdict

It may well have been crowned European Car of the Year for 2016, but has the new Astra been designed to thrill or exhilarate? Sadly not, it lacks any real feedback and has very safe handling characteristics that don’t allow for any adjustability. However, the Astra has elements that do feel very well judged. The most powerful engine available not only makes the Astra surprisingly quick, but it’s also a pleasure to rev. It’s also very comfortable as the ride is exceptional, and the controls are well positioned to suit spirited driving, too.

Its attributes may not add up to make the new Astra the most exciting car, but it’s the best base Astra we’ve tried and it has certainly made us eagerly anticipate the VXR version.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

evo Tip

Don’t go for the optional 18” wheels. Stick with the smaller 17s as they help create the luxurious, comfortable ride. That may not sound particularly thrilling, but the Astra isn’t the most sporty or direct handling car so it might as well ride nicely instead.

evo Comment

‘The new Astra isn’t a bad car but it isn’t a particularly memorable car to drive either. What is encouraging is the feeling of lightness and compactness, which are excellent starting points for future hotter versions. Pop a sportier petrol engine under the bonnet, tweak the springs and dampers and you might have a rather good hot hatch.’ Henry Catchpole

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/skoda/202145/full-2020-skoda-octavia-vrs-engine-range-detailed
Skoda Octavia vRS

Full 2020 Skoda Octavia vRS engine range detailed

Skoda’s engine range for the Octavia vRS topped by a 242bhp turbo petrol
3 Jul 2020
Visit/mercedes/cla/202850/mercedes-amg-cla-45-s-shooting-brake-review
Mercedes CLA45 AMG hatchback

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Shooting Brake review

Good looks and stonking performance, if you can stomach the price tag
4 Jul 2020
Visit/aston-martin/21621/first-ps275m-aston-martin-db5-goldfinger-continuation-model-produced
Aston Martin

First £2.75m Aston Martin DB5 Goldfinger Continuation model produced

Aston Martin has finished its first DB5 Goldfinger Continuation; the other 24 James Bonds to receive their cars soon
6 Jul 2020
Visit/best-cars/15095/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps10000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £10,000 – evo garage

The evo team picks their favourite used performance cars
1 Jul 2020