UL CARS: IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE NEW VAUXHALL ASTRA

by • February 18, 2016 • Business, InteriorsComments (0)2015

The new Vauxhall Astra is based on all-new lightweight vehicle architecture with a fresh design, engines and technology and is manufactured at the company’s Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire. 

Over the past 36 years three million have taken to UK roads and it is a leading model in the very important C-Segment and it takes head on the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf.

The new model is up to 200kg lighter than its predecessor with a completely new vehicle architecture which plays a major role in weight reduction. Every component was checked for compact design and lightweight materials. The body shell weight alone was reduced by 20 per cent from 357kg to 280kg. Additional, chassis-related measures resulted in a further 50kg weight loss, these include high-strength and ultra-high-strength low-weight steels, compact sub frames as well as weight reductions to the front and rear axle.

Like as with previous generations there is a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines ranging from 100 – 200PS, including an all-new 1.4 litre (150PS) ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo and the recently-launched 1.6 litre CDTi Whisper Diesel.

New Vauxhall Astra

We tend to favour diesels in our market in Northern Ireland, although to be fair the new petrol engines are very efficient and there has been a switch by some customers away from diesel.

The combination of a lighter Astra and an excellent chassis transmits to a car which can be best described as a driver’s car and the end result is a very capable and comfortable means of transport with good looks to match.

The new Astra is also the first Vauxhall to feature OnStar, the ground-breaking connectivity technology now available across Europe. It includes high-speed 4G LTE mobile network, emergency response notification and stolen vehicle recovery alert. The new model is also one of the first vehicles from a mainstream manufacturer to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, available through a new version of the IntelliLink infotainment system.

New Vauxhall Astra

There are a number of innovative driver assistance systems and comfort features to make journeys safer and more relaxed. More and more manufacturers are placing the emphasis on safety and amongst the array of features with new Astra, front camera system, traffic sign assist, following distance indication, headway alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision alert etc.

We all appreciate value for money and with this new Vauxhall it can be as much as £2,200 less expensive than the previous model and the highly rated 1.6 litre Whisper Diesel is priced circa £17,000.

Trim levels for the new model are, Design, Tech Line, Energy, SRi and Elite, with Nav versions of the SRi and Elite trims also available.

In keeping with other mainstream manufacturers the range includes a one litre three-cylinder Turbo Start/Stop ecoFLEX with super economy and very acceptable performance levels. With an Easytronic five-speed automatic transmission this model achieves a class-leading 96g/km CO2 emissions.  For those who desire performance, Vauxhall has the answer with the 1.6 litre 200PS SRi; this is a real challenger for the best which Ford and Vauxhall can provide in their Focus and Golf ranges.

Of special interest for the past fifty one years, Ellesmere Port has been the manufacturing home of every compact class Vauxhall sold in the UK and the eighth generation Astra is the latest to roll off the production line. Many will recall the Viva HA, it was the first back in 1964, then followed further Viva models, the Chevette which was not only successful as a road car but gained many victories in rallying.

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