Vauxhall Astra 1.0 Turbo EcoFlex Tech Line

October 2015

picture of car from the front

The Astra's design is pleasant and inoffensive but not memorable


Overall Rating 7Overall rating

Value for money Rating 8Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 8Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 8Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 9Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 6Car security

Safety Rating 6Car safety


  • Smooth engine offers a refined experience for relaxed drivers
  • Excellent front seats offer high levels of comfort
  • Good handling characteristics make it fun to drive
  • Large colour screen interface is among the industry best


  • Poor quality cabin materials in too many areas
  • Engine does not have the power of some alternatives
  • Overly light steering does not inspire driving confidence
  • Deep boot load lip makes offloading large objects difficult

The styling might be familiar but this generation of Astra is based on an all-new chassis that takes advantage of weight-saving techniques to cut as much as 200kg from its predecessor in certain like-for-like comparisons. New engines are also integral to the model's renewed assault on the compact family hatchback market, including a downsized and turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol.

A small engine in what was once considered a large car is no longer unusual. Rivals like Ford and Volkswagen have been installing their smallest turbocharged petrol engines into their Astra rivals for several years, so Vauxhall is really just playing catch-up. Its intent is to offer a better entry-level choice for people who want to avoid diesel.

As part of a new engine family, the 1.0-litre unit promises better performance than older non-turbocharged equivalents along with improved fuel economy. The other benefits of petrol over diesel, like smoothness, quietness and faster warm-up, are all left intact.

The lighter new platform is a key enabler for the engine. It is not built for outright speed and would have struggled to haul the heavier older car along. Less weight means the car tends to ride better, drive more smoothly and, on smaller wheels at least, absorb bumps impressively well.

The interior is something of a let-down, though, with a disappointing mix of materials and too many that look cheap, feel cheap or both. High-spec models rectify this with a spread of leathers and contrasting stitching, but the lower models feel somewhat utilitarian. Sales are expected to remain biased heavily towards fleets and company car users.

Our verdict on the Vauxhall Astra 1.0 Turbo EcoFlex Tech Line

The Astra is a straightforward car that offers no more or less than many people will expect. It drives with more smoothness and comfort than before, the 1.0-litre engine is adequate for everyday use and the overall package is close to being as versatile as any car of this type can be. Particularly good front seats offer lots of lumbar support, which makes for an enduringly comfortable experience on the motorway, so it's just a shame about the interior on low- to mid-range models.

Costs rating 8

Vauxhall is well known for offering big discounts on its cars, especially where models are technically new but pre-registered. Mid-spec Astras can therefore be bought for very low prices. Resale values are low for some models, so it's worth checking the specific details. Fuel economy for the 1.0-litre turbo engine is excellent, especially when used gently. Insurance is modest and servicing should be very affordable.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 8

The boot is a good size but is not the most practical shape, with a deep load lip preventing easy loading and unloading of heavy or large objects. A ridged base does help stop smaller items and soft luggage rolling from side to side, though. A compact folding pushchair will fit into it, but little else after that. Inside the cabin the glove box is huge, but the door pockets could be better thought-out.

picture of car from the rear

A small rear window restricts visibility slightly

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 9

The central display screen is both large and sharp, with clear and engaging graphics. It's easily one of the best interfaces among mainstream cars of any type. That said, its functions must be explored, which takes a little time but then becomes intuitive. The rest of the controls fall into a mostly logical and familiar pattern.

Comfort Rating 8

Going no larger than 17-inch wheels is a wise move, because on these smaller rims the Astra rides very well. It thunks over sharper bumps and motorway expansion joints but generally cushions blows in comfort. Legroom is good for all on board, and in the rear it almost matches the larger Skoda Octavia. The front seats are extremely comfortable, with prominent lumbar support especially helpful for long drives.

Car security
Security Rating 6

Press the remote key fob's lock button and not just the doors lock. The fuel filler lid also locks to prevent fuel theft, while deadlocks are also installed to stop thieves smashing windows and opening the car from the inside. Locking wheel nuts are standard on all models with alloy wheels.

Car safety
Safety Rating 6

An expanded Electronic Stability Programme system is standard, taking care of safety under emergency manoeuvres. For a price, a Perimeter Protection Pack can be added, consisting of an automated parking assistant, a blind spot alert system and electrically folding door mirrors that help stop the mirrors being bashed and broken.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 7

Thanks to its extensive weight loss versus its predecessor, the car has a new lease of life when it comes to driving enjoyment. It grips well, turns keenly despite very light steering that robs a little cornering confidence, and under more relaxed use this engine proves smooth, easy-going and quiet. It doesn't have enough power or torque to make the Astra feel particularly brisk, but it's very linear and driver-friendly.

picture of car interior

Astra interiors are heavily specification-dependent

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 8

Young families are the principal buyers of the three in 10 Astras that are sold to private individuals. With plenty of rear seat space, Isofix child seat mounts and the ability to turn the front passenger side airbag off, the Astra has all the key bases covered. Higher seats would make it slightly easier to install child seats, though, and the car lacks any of the parent-focused features on Vauxhall's own outstandingly clever Meriva.

First car appeal
First car Rating 6

For a new driver whose needs preclude a smaller, more typical car like Vauxhall's Corsa, Adam and Viva, the Astra would make a very sensible choice. Especially so with this engine, which is very forgiving and easy to use without risk over over-stepping in terms of performance capability. It's an undemanding car to drive and, rear visibility issues aside, is no harder to pilot than a Corsa.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 6

The tangible quality inside the car is a disappointment, but the excellent infotainment interface does partially redeem Tech Line models and upwards. Vauxhall is making slow but steady progress in terms of build quality and reliability, and is now comfortably mid-table in ownership surveys. It is on par with the Ford Focus in most respects, but lags behind some pricier options.

Accessibility Rating

As a compact family hatchback the Astra is designed for ease of use and access. Some older people prefer seats a this height because they are easy to simply turn and drop on to, while people with better personal mobility might prefer something slightly higher for the visibility advantages it may offer. The doors, including the boot lid, are light and easy to open.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

Connectivity is a big part of the Astra's identity. An MP3-compatible CD player, Bluetooth, sat-nav including street-level mapping for the UK and Ireland plus major routes for Western Europe, AUX-in socket, USB connection with iPod control, an AM/FM radio with 36 station presets and six speakers are all standard at this level. There are also steering wheel-mounted audio controls. This trim grade does not include an alarm.

picture of car in detail

The boot is large but has a deep lip over which bags must be loaded

Colours and trim

Vauxhall has covered all he important bases with whites, reds, blacks and silvers, with enough other colour options to leave little cause for complaint. The car's shape is slightly bland from some angles, though, and a bright colour helps to lift it a little. The interior trim is a big disappointment in this car, though, with a cheap rubberised handbrake lever and unattractive plastics dotted around. The leather steering wheel is the trim highlight.


The Astra is a simple shape and a compact volume, but isn't quite flat at the back, which could prey on some less confident drivers' minds when reversing into a space. Parking sensors are optional for this model and come as a package both at the front and the rear. Visibility is good, so a confident driver will have no problems manoeuvring the Astra at low speed, but many rivals include parking aids as standard.

Spare wheel

Emergency tyre repair kit supplied as standard, space-saver spare optional.


Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (99bhp); 1.0-litre turbo (103bhp); 1.6-litre (113bhp); 1.4-litre turbo (138bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.3-litre (94bhp); 1.6-litre (108bhp, 134bhp); 2.0-litre (163bhp, 192bhp). Transmission options: five and six-speed manual gearbox depending on model, plus auto gearbox (selected models only). Trim levels: Design, Excite, Limited Edition, Tech Line, Tech Line GT, SRi, BiTurbo, Elite.


Alternative cars

Ford Focus Good to drive and with a much-improved interior

Volkswagen Golf Superlative all-rounder but with expensive prices

Volkswagen Golf Superlative all-rounder but with expensive prices

Kia Cee'd Very solid and good to drive, with new small turbocharged engine options

Nissan Pulsar Class leader for rear legroom, but otherwise quite dull

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October 2015