Good looking or what? And it’s a Vauxhall. The more we see the new Astra with its crisp looks and smart new face, the more we like it – and we like it most of all in this, the new Astra Sports Tourer unveiled today.
It’s an object lesson in how to make something as workaday as a C-segment estate look appealingly fresh and modern. It certainly leaves the frumpy old Sports Tourer for dead in the looks department.
Vauxhall’s new “Vizor” front-end design with its black horizontal panel and wide-spaced vertical air inlets either side is just as convincing here as it is on other new-gen Vauxhalls, but it fights for attention with the Sports Tourer’s design USP: the body-colour shark’s fin C-pillar. With roof and other pillars in black, it makes for a strong graphic look. It’s the first time the firm’s new design language has featured on an estate.
Platform sharing within the wider Stellantis group (this car’s close relative: Peugeot 308) means a change to the model’s proportions, but it’s one that appears to have paid off. The new Sports Tourer is 60mm shorter than the outgoing model, but sits on a wheelbase 70mm longer, allowing Vauxhall to claim it as another example of efficient packaging, though without actually saying it’s as roomy inside as the old one.
With a wheelbase 57mm longer than that of the new Astra hatchback, the Sports Tourer shouldn’t be compromised in the practicality stakes, despite the squeezed dimensions, thanks to an “Intelli-Space” moveable boot floor. It can be adjusted to high or low positions to maximise room, and includes stowage for the retractable load cover. The result is a flat-floored load space with the 40-20-40 split rear backrests folded down of 1,634 litres – the old model had 1,630. With rear seats in place you have a 608 litre boot – or 548 litres if you opt for the plug-in hybrid which has its lithium-ion batteries under the boot floor.
The plug-in model is the first-ever electrified Vauxhall estate. The petrol-electric hybrid comes with eight-speed automatic transmission and 225PS (168kW). Other options for the Sport Tourer similarly mirror powertrains already announced for the Astra hatchback, with petrol and diesel choices between 110-130PS (81-96kW), all with a manual gearbox as standard. An all-electric Astra is likely around 2023.
To go with the sharp looks is a similarly rejuvenated cabin design. The clean-lined design is centred on a 10-inch driver instrument cluster and a 10-inch digital touchscreen. Vauxhall is not among the carmakers that rely entirely on touch-screen control, however, and many will be pleased to see that physical switches for things like climate control have been retained.
Doubtless owners will also be pleased to see that the Astra’s deserved reputation for seats that offer good long distance support is maintained in the new estate. As before, the front seats come with ergonomic design and independently certified back-support.
Good looking, comfortable and practical? There’s life in that workaday C-segment estate after all. No prices as yet – the new Astra hatch starts from around £23k and the Sports Tourer will likely be £1,500 on top of that. The order books open in the new year with first deliveries early summer.