New 2022 Vauxhall Astra revealed – full details and possible GSe hot hatch

Vauxhall’s first PSA-developed Astra arrives with a distinctive look and plug-in hybrid powertrains

It could be argued that the Vauxhall Astra is as central to the UK’s motoring landscape as any new BMW 3-series or Ford Fiesta, so the reveal of a new version, with or without a performance version, is always a big deal. This all-new model is the first Astra to make full use of Vauxhall’s PSA/Stellantis connection, using a platform and powertrains from Peugeot, but wrapping them in a distinctive new skin. This is the same strategy that’s been applied to the Corsa, and if the sales figures are anything to go by, it’s one that’s working. 

The Astra’s fundamentals are different from the Corsa’s, though, being based on the EMP2 platform that’s found under larger Peugeot models like the 308 and 508. As such, the model will only launch with internal combustion engine options, albeit two of them plug-in hybrid in nature. The base engine choice will be made up from a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel, each fitted with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto. Plug-in hybrid models then form the upper levels of the new Astra range with 178bhp and 222bhp variants combining a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, fitted as standard with the auto ‘box.

The chassis layout is fundamentally similar to that used in previous Astras – think MacPherson strut front and a torsion bar rear, but the car’s dimensions are slightly different thanks to its new platform. It’s only slightly longer (+4mm), but with a more generous wheelbase (+13mm) and wider stance. These new proportions are made good use of, too. Vauxhall’s new design language is employed with its ‘Vizor’ front end graphic and sharp new surfacing. And quite an impact it makes.

Yet it’s the cabin that has made the biggest leap forward, combining a sweeping new digital interface with clever use of materials. All models will package a dual-screen setup, but higher trim levels bring the two displays together underneath a single glass pane that angles its way around the driver. While we do have reservations about the dominance of this digital interface, its integration is a world away from the bland, if still functional, interiors of Vauxhalls past. It still comes with essential hard keys underneath, including the volume knob, air conditioning controls and hazard light switch  – are you listening, VW?

But the question we’re asking is whether Vauxhall, with its new-found momentum, will head back into the hot hatchback ring, the answer of which is a loose ‘we’ll see’. Vauxhall’s recent announcement of going all electric beyond 2028, plus its intention to introduce a new GSe electrified performance sub-brand, could yield a future Astra wearing that moniker, yet its form is still very much up for interpretation. 

This Astra GSe project will probably be led by Peugeot’s PSE sub-brand, and without a firm commitment to a high performance plug-in 308 PSE, the reality of a GSe Astra still hangs in the balance. While this might seem unfortunate, the understandably limited application of this package outside of the European market means it will remain a very big ‘if’ until Vauxhall and indeed Peugeot say otherwise.

Recommended

2021 Peugeot 308 priced from £24,000
2021 Peugeot 308
Peugeot 308

2021 Peugeot 308 priced from £24,000

Peugeot’s 308 hatchback has been given an extreme makeover, and first cars hit the road this December
29 Jun 2021
Vauxhall Insignia GSi 2021 review – throwback family fun
Vauxhall Insignia GSi – low tracking
Vauxhall Insignia

Vauxhall Insignia GSi 2021 review – throwback family fun

Before Vauxhall benefits from Peugeot’s latest know-how, the Insignia soldiers to remind us of a time we have probably all forgotten
25 Mar 2021
Mini range updated for 2021 – supermini sharpens up to rival A1 and new 500e
Mini Cooper S 2021 - front quarter
MINI

Mini range updated for 2021 – supermini sharpens up to rival A1 and new 500e

The Mini hatch range, including the Cooper S and Mini Electric all gain new style and tech features
26 Jan 2021
Mercedes-Benz A-class review – high-tech hatch takes aim at 1-series and A3
Mercedes A-Class hatchback

Mercedes-Benz A-class review – high-tech hatch takes aim at 1-series and A3

Now in its fourth generation, the Mercedes A-class is unrecognisable from the car that kicked things off two decades ago.
23 Nov 2020

Most Popular

Litchfield Toyota GR Yaris 2021 review – superstar hatchback picks up expert UK-tuning
Litchfield Toyota GR Yaris – front cornering
Toyota GR Yaris

Litchfield Toyota GR Yaris 2021 review – superstar hatchback picks up expert UK-tuning

Litchfield’s been fiddling with Toyota’s brilliant GR Yaris with predictably fantastic results
31 Jul 2021
Range-topping Honda NSX Type S coming to Pebble Beach
Honda NSX Type S – burnout
Honda NSX

Range-topping Honda NSX Type S coming to Pebble Beach

It’s the end of the line for Honda’s pioneering NSX, but it’s going out with a bang
3 Aug 2021
Car pictures of the week
Bishops Heritage Range Rover – rear tracking
Land Rover

Car pictures of the week

An epic Bishops Heritage Range Rover Restomod stars in this week's gallery
30 Jul 2021