The new Vauxhall Astra received its global debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show with the promise of aggressive pricing, exceptional quality, and levels of equipment and technology seldom seen in the compact class.
The entry-level Vauxhall Astra Exclusiv 1.4i (87PS) enters the market at £15,675, a mere £270 more than the outgoing equivalent model, yet now offers as standard air conditioning, electronic stability control, 16-inch wheels and an MP3-format radio/CD player with aux-in.
Further up the range, the Vauxhall Astra SRi 1.4i Turbo, with its new-to-range engine, is just £10 more than the current, un-blown SRi 1.8-litre petrol, yet retains its 140PS output, reduces CO2 emissions by 18 per cent and Benefit in Kind tax by seven bands. Equipment levels rise too, with an electronic parking brake, centre armrest and active head restraints all standard.
The lead-in diesel-powered model's price has also barely budged. Compared with the current Vauxhall Astra Life 1.7 CDTi 100PS, the new and more powerful Exclusiv 1.7 CDTi 110PS drops a VED band, thanks to a 11g/km reduction in CO2, has even more standard equipment, yet costs just £15 more at £18,015.
Helping reduce the cost of Vauxhall Astra ownership still further has resulted in lower insurance group ratings. For example, a Vauxhall Astra Exclusiv 1.4i (100PS) drops from a 5E/10E rating for the old model to a 3E/9E for the equivalent car in the new range. Similarly, an outgoing SE 1.6-litre (115PS) slides from 7E/13E (current) to 4E/12E (new), and an SRi 1.7 CDTi (125PS) from 12E/21E (current) to 5E/15E (new).
Vauxhall dealers' order books are now open for the new Vauxhall Astra, with the first cars reaching showrooms in December 2009.
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