Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer review - BiTurbo diesel is best new Astra yet

Considering a Ford Focus ST diesel estate? Vauxhall’s latest offering could be worth a look

What is it?

A more capacious version of the Astra hatchback we tested late last year. The Sports Tourer’s introduction also heralds a new engine available across the Astra range, in the form of a new 1.6-litre BiTurbo diesel.

Engine, transmission and 0-60 time

It’s no longer a surprise to see considerable horsepower figures from inconsiderable cubic capacities, but 158bhp from a 1.6-litre diesel powerplant is still a thoroughly healthy output, as is the 258lb ft of torque developed from 1500-2250rpm.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

With a six-speed manual transmission and power sent to the front wheels, the result in Sports Tourer form is an 8.4-second 0-62mph time and a top speed of 137mph – this, again, from a 1.6-litre diesel. The secret is of course a pair of turbochargers, one spooling up at low engine speeds and the other taking over if you keep your foot pinned.

For some perspective, those figures compare very favourably with the 2-litre TDCi in evo’s long-term Ford Focus ST estate, with its 8.3-second sprint and 135mph top speed.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Technical highlights

Aside from the engine, which is strong on paper and – as you’ll discover, impressive on the road – the main point of difference ‘twixt hatchback and Sports Tourer is the extra metal it carries, which only adds around 50kg to the kerb weight, albeit positioned over the rear axle.

The practical difference is luggage space, which spreads to 540 litres with the rear seats in place, from 370 litres in the hatch.

What’s it like to drive?

In BiTurbo diesel form, the Sports Tourer is actually rather pleasant. The new engine is quiet and refined throughout its rev range (overall refinement is also excellent), which is still a rare occurrence in the realms of four-cylinder diesel engines. Those two turbochargers endow it with a healthy, responsive punch too.

While it’s not the most evocative of engines, we’d say it’s currently the Astra powerplant to go for – pending a drive in the 197bhp petrol.

Evocative isn’t a word you’d apply to the Astra’s handling either, though interaction with the chassis is satisfying in a way that it never was in the previous car.

The steering is light on feel but the car responds quickly and faithfully to inputs, and it doesn’t take long to adopt a pleasing flow on twisty roads. Body control is good too and there’s a sense of nimbleness that not even the longer estate body seems to compromise.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The brakes are firm and progressive underfoot, and while Vauxhall still hasn’t learned how to produce a gearlever that doesn’t feel like a prosthetic leg in your hand, it has finally got the knack of engineering a light, accurate throw around the gate.

Prices and rivals

Our test car, in sporty (and well-equipped) SRi Nav trim and enlivened further by optional (£395) 18-inch alloys, came in at £24,935. The Astra Sports Tourer range as a whole begins at £16,480, though we’re not sure the resulting 1.4-litre petrol in Design trim is a car you’d want to go anywhere near.

Pricing is broadly competitive with other estates in this sector, and the car as-tested isn’t much more expensive than the aforementioned Focus ST TDCi estate. The Focus is the better drive (it beat the £28,285 Golf GTD Estate in evo issue 219, too) and more exciting to behold, but the Vauxhall is the more spacious and comfortable of the pair.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/land-rover/discovery-sport/201862/2019-land-rover-discovery-sport-d180-se-review
Land Rover Discovery Sport

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport D180 SE review

18 Oct 2019
Visit/volkswagen/201859/volkswagen-t-roc-r-review-ever-wish-the-golf-r-was-a-little-bit-taller
Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc R review - ever wish the Golf R was a little bit taller?

17 Oct 2019
Visit/toyota/yaris/201858/all-new-toyota-yaris-revealed-and-hot-gazoo-models-arent-far-behind
Toyota Yaris

All-new Toyota Yaris revealed – and hot Gazoo models aren’t far behind

17 Oct 2019
Visit/hyundai/201854/updated-2020-hyundai-i30-n-spied-before-reveal-early-next-year
Hyundai i30 N

Updated 2020 Hyundai i30 N spied before reveal early next year

16 Oct 2019
Advertisement

More on Astra

Visit/vauxhall/astra/18646/vauxhall-astra-gte-mk1-all-white-in-the-1980s
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra GTE Mk1 - all white in the 1980s

Is it time to add the Mk1 Astra GTE to the list of all-time great hot hatches?
1 Jan 2017
Visit/vauxhall/astra/16713/2015-vauxhall-astra-first-drive-review
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

2015 Vauxhall Astra first drive review

We sample Vauxhall's lighter, more compact Astra in petrol and diesel guises to gauge its chances against the Ford Focus and VW Golf
21 Sep 2015
Visit/vauxhall/astra/13633/197bhp-vauxhall-astra-gtc-launched
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

197bhp Vauxhall Astra GTC launched

Vauxhall has introduced the 197bhp 1.6-litre perol engine from the Cascada to the Astra GTC, making it the most powerful sub-VXR Astra on sale. Prices…
7 Jan 2014
Visit/vauxhall/cascada
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

2013 Vauxhall Cascada 1.6 Turbo review and pictures

The Vauxhall Cascada is a new convertible model that rivals the Audi A5 Cabriolet. We drive the 168bhp 1.6 Turbo
11 Mar 2013
Advertisement
Visit/vauxhall/astra/14123/vauxhall-astra-vxr-vs-renaultsport-megane-265-vs-ford-focus-rs
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra VXR vs Renaultsport Megane 265 vs Ford Focus RS

The new 276bhp Vauxhall Astra VXR has all the ingredients to be one of the best hot hatches ever made, but any weaknesses will be exposed by two great…
24 Jan 2013
Visit/vauxhall/astra/12798/vauxhall-cascada-revealed
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Cascada revealed

Vauxhall has revealed images of its new full-sized convertible, as well as details on its new 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine.
17 Oct 2012
Visit/vauxhall/astra/12727/vauxhalls-new-convertible-teased
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall's new convertible teased

Vauxhall has unveiled plans to launch a new mid-sized convertible, called the Cascada
5 Sep 2012
Visit/news/evonews/286096/astra_range_gets_biturbo_engine.html
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Astra range gets Bi-turbo engine

Vauxhall will be adding its hot bi-turbo diesel engine to the whole Astra range, including five-door hatch and Sport Tourer.
1 Aug 2012
Visit/vauxhall/astra/12338/geneva-2012-vauxhall-astra-vxr-geneva-2012-vauxhall-astra-vxr
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Geneva 2012: Vauxhall Astra VXR: Geneva 2012: Vauxhall Astra VXR

Vauxhall's most powerful Astra ever has been unveiled at the Geneva motor show. Meet the 276bhp VXR, ready to tackle the new Ford Focus ST and Citroen…
6 Mar 2012
Visit/vauxhall/astra/12241/vauxhall-to-unveil-astra-vxr-at-geneva-vauxhall-to-unveil-astra-vxr-at-geneva
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall to unveil Astra VXR at Geneva: Vauxhall to unveil Astra VXR at Geneva

The most powerful Astra yet will be launched at the Geneva motor show, as well as new Mokka SUV and new RAD e concept
8 Feb 2012
Advertisement
Visit/vauxhall/astra/11769/vauxhall-astra-gtc-coupe-news-and-pictures
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra GTC coupe news and pictures

Vauxhall unveils its new Astra GTC, a 3-door coupe to battle the VW Scirocco and Renault Megane Coupe
7 Jun 2011
Visit/vauxhall/astra/6945/vauxhall-astra-vxr-arctic-edition-review
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra VXR Arctic Edition review

Limited edition Vauxhall Astra VXR Arctic hot hatch, only 500 being made
22 Sep 2010
Advertisement
Visit/vauxhall/astra/6877/vauxhall-astra-vxr-arctic-edition-review
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra VXR Arctic Edition review

We drive the Arctic special edition of Vauxhall's outgoing Astra VXR hot hatch. A worthy send off?
30 Jul 2010
Visit/vauxhall/astra/6789/vauxhall-astra-sri
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra SRi

Warm hatch shows the new Astra has the model’s best chassis ever
21 Dec 2009
Visit/news/evonews/244492/2010_car_of_the_year.html
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

2010 Car of the Year

The seven finalists for European Car of the Year are announced. Which will win?
2 Nov 2009
Visit/vauxhall/astra/6753/vauxhall-astra-16-turbo
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra 1.6 Turbo

Ingenious new rear suspension set-up works wonders on next Astra’s ride
1 Sep 2009
Advertisement
Visit/vauxhall/astra/10115/vauxhall-astra
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra

We've caught the 2010 Astra testing in Spain
5 May 2009
Visit/vauxhall/astra/6683/vauxhall-astra-vxr-888
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra VXR 888

BTCC special squad Triple Eight Engineering take hot Vauxhall Astra up to 295bhp
3 Feb 2009
Visit/vauxhall/astra/6610/vauxhall-astra
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra

Improved handling from attention-grabbing special-edition Astra
14 May 2008
Visit/vauxhall/astra/6566/vauxhall-astra
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra

Dealer’s diesel Astra VXR alternative returns
2 Jan 2008
Visit/vauxhall/astra/6512/vauxhall-astra
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra

A new 178bhp engine in the Vauxhall Astra combines performance and economy, thanks to a modest 1.6 engine and a turbocharger
12 Jun 2007
Visit/vauxhall/astra/8237/vauxhall-astra-vxr
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra VXR

The Astra had its first service just shy of 19,000 miles. Bill was reasonable, some of the work questionable.
17 Nov 2006
Advertisement
Visit/vauxhall/astra/6457/vauxhall-astra
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra

Dealer and race-team concoct a diesel with real attitude
1 Nov 2006
Visit/vauxhall/astra/8114/vauxhall-astra-vxr
Vauxhall Astra hatchback

Vauxhall Astra VXR

The Astra VXR goads you into using its 237bhp to the full - cruising is not an option
7 Aug 2006
Advertisement