Aldershot News & Mail : 2020-09-09

45 : 45 : 45


45 NEWS & MAIL WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2020 MOTORS AN ELITE FORCE THE ASTRA IS CELEBRATIN­G ITS 40TH BIRTHDAY The latest Astra may not look radically different but it features a host of hi-tech developmen­ts WITH A NEW MODEL. PATRICK JAMES TAKES IT FOR A SPIN T VAUXHALL ASTRA ELITE NAV 1.5D HERE are some cars names that are so well known, they become part of the English language. Say Golf, Focus and Clio and you automatica­lly know which firm is the manufactur­er. The same goes, of course, for the Astra, and for the picky ones out there, it’s a Vauxhall. A legend in its segment, it is a testament to its quality and longevity that the car appeals to both the private and fleet market in large numbers, even with the rise of the ubiquitous SUV/ crossover. Now celebratin­g its 40th anniversar­y with a new model, more than three million Astras have been sold in the UK since 1979 and in a startling statistic, Vauxhall says that more than 25 per cent of British motorists have either owned or driven one. The latest model has really thrown the gauntlet down to challenger­s, with a smart, but not radically different appearance, a host of hi-tech developmen­ts and new petrol and diesel engines that offer reduced All of this is helped by a slippery body which has a class-leading drag co-efficient figure of just 0.26. In addition, an engine compartmen­t cover, deflector-shaped rear axle control arms and radiator grille automatica­lly open and close independen­tly of one another, further improve the frontal airflow. The CO₂ reductions are delivered by the emissions reduction system, consisting of a passive oxidation catalyst, AdBlue injector, SCR catalyst and Diesel Particulat­e Filter. It looks good on the outside, although you would have to look hard to spot the changes to grille and glare-free LED light clusters and 17-inch alloys, and the interior on this higher-end model remains quality, with soft-touch trim, leather seats and steering wheel, both of which are heated, and a high-quality feeling throughout. Centrepoin­t is the eight-inch touchscree­n which contains the Multimedia Navi Pro system controls including infotainme­nt, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivi­ty and top-notch navigation system, plus voice command and Bluetooth. Standard equipment is impressive with this model offering extra bells and whistles, like new forward and rear cameras and electronic climate control. The engine in this model proved to have pace as well as economy. Quick off the mark and hitting 60mph in just under 10 seconds, it has the distinctiv­e three-pot thrum when accelerati­ng, but is a quiet and refined motorway cruiser. Handling has improved thanks to a chassis upgrade – new dampers provide greater control, even on poor surfaces, while the steering has received a new calibratio­n. The upshot is that it feels composed and agile when cornering, which is extremely important when facing rivals of the quality of the Golf or Focus. Safety kit, as you would expect, is comprehens­ive with active and passive systems and include a full complement of airbags, stability control and assisted braking. In addition, a new digital front camera which recognises vehicles, can now process even more traffic signs and show them as symbols on the display. The digital rear-view camera on this model is also more powerful, and works in conjunctio­n with the new Multimedia Navi Pro infotainme­nt system. As a hatchback it is obviously practical, with boot space of 370 litres, expanding to 1,210 with the seats folded. The latest model starts at £18,885 on-the-road. With PSA now owning the brand, it may not be too long before we see an all new model featuring PSA underpinni­ngs. In the meantime the Astra is still a strong performer in what is perhaps the most competitiv­e of segments. FAST FACTS Price: £24,850 MECHANICAL: emissions and fuel consumptio­ns of up to 21 per cent. It is also bucking the diesel trend with a clean and efficient powerplant. The 1.5-litre unit comes with choices of 105ps or the 122ps on this model, mated to a slick, six-speed manual gearbox. That it is efficient is beyond doubt, producing CO2 emissions as low as 90g/ km for lower benefit in kind taxation and official mpg of around 60mpg. I tried this out on a full tank which included high-speed motorway driving, for hours on end, as well as urban pottering around, completing well in excess of 400 miles to be left with just under a quarter tank. A sterner test has come via the WLTP Challenge designed by Fleet World magazine to test and prove vehicles’ real-world fuel efficiency. Here, the Astra hit 85mpg when tested over a 215-mile UK run. 122ps, 1,496cc, 3cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox MAX SPEED 130mph COMBINED MPG 62.8 INSURANCE GROUP 17 C02 EMISSIONS 95g/km BIK RATING 24% WARRANTY 3yrs/ 60,000 miles Standard equipment is impressive in the new Astra PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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