Vauxhall Astra Rear View
Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra's CD Navi 500 comprises a full-colour, 7-inch screen with scroll and zoom functions, postcode recognition and 1GB flash memory. On the audio side, there are seven speakers, iPod and MP3 ports. The standard issue audio system also has seven speakers, radio/CD, iPod connection, graphic equalizer and a secondary tuner to compensate for areas of bad reception. There is also a 6CD changer available and an Infinity Premium Audio system on offer as well as a hands-free telephone system but again, these seem to be extras throughout the range.

Elsewhere, it would seem that the designers have spent a great deal of time and attention on the Vauxhall Astra's interior details; boasting that some of the storage solutions have even been patented but apart from that, there are bespoke storage areas for 20 of the most common items we carry around in the car. According to the survey, that includes bottles, tissues and phones, etc.

Within the cabin and especially at the front, there are more hints at Vauxhall Insignia design cues with more 'blades' and 'wings' making an appearance. The arc that flows across the dashboard and into the doors is a prime example of this. The smart textured chrome-effect surround to the centre console is repeated on the instrument surrounds, as it flows down to the central tunnel, either side of the elevated gearshift. As all the clutter is contained in one place, the rest of the cabin seems relatively calm and businesslike.

The Vauxhall Astra test car was in Elite trim, which means that the driver and front passenger benefit from leather-clad Ergonomic Sports Seats with large, supportive side bolsters; but only the driver's has tilt adjustment.

Despite the Vauxhall Astra being longer than previous models, the rear passengers don't have a great deal of legroom but it is enough for relative comfort. What they do have, are doors as at launch, the Vauxhall Astra is only available as a 5-door hatch.

Vauxhall makes much of their FlexFloor system. It is standard on all Vauxhall Astras above the S and Exclusiv trims, where it is an optional extra. The FlexFloor is a moveable platform in the boot that can be positioned at three levels; bumper height for the ease of sliding heavy items in and out but with storage underneath. The middle position is level with the folded seat-backs for a longer flat floor, again, with storage below and lastly, it can be set directly above the boot floor. So the carrying capacity can vary from 370-litres to a maximum of 1,235-litres (to the roof), depending on your needs. Incidentally, cyclists will be pleased to know that the clever FlexFix, integrated bike carrier will also be available soon.

Before I move on to the engines, here are a few of the highlights from the Vauxhall Astra's feature list. The S has fabric covered seats, powered and heated door mirrors, 16-inch steel wheels, rake- and reach-adjustable steering column, height adjustment to the driver's seat, central locking and air-conditioning with an air filter.

Exclusiv adds chrome bezels and ambient lighting in the centre console, cruise control, extra storage and secondary audio controls on the steering wheel. The sporty SRi sits on 17-inch alloys and has lowered sports suspension, electronic parking brake, sports seats, more ambient light and some sporty exterior detailing with more to follow shortly, as options.

The SE also has 17-inch alloys, Ribbon Moroccana fabric on the seats, automatic wipers and lights (with tunnel detection), an electrochromic rear-view mirror and powered rear windows. Elite is the top of the range and as well as the Ergonomic Front Seats, adds dual-zone climate control, electrically foldable door mirrors and a rear centre armrest.

Vauxhall Astra News

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