Latest Astra’s sporty side
VAUXHALL’S Astra has been an integral part of the British motoring scene for as long as most of us can remember, so it’s easy to think you know the model well.
But get behind the wheel of the latest SRI model with the 160bhp biturbo engine and you soon realise just how wrong you can be.
The most powerful diesel engine available in the new Astra, the biturbo, as its name suggests, uses two turbochargers, with the second one cutting in as the revs get higher.
The results is a very lively family hatchback with a real kick when you hit the accelerator hard.
But this Astra has another surprise up its sleeve in the shape of a tiny Sport button just in front of the gear stick.
Push this and the bi-turbo really does live up to its name, with even sharper performance and an even bigger power boost as your right foot hits the metal.
But it’s all very well having plenty of acceleration if you don’t mind paying the penalty of high fuel consumption. For most of us, however, mpg is a vital consideration when buying a car.
And this is where this 1.6 diesel scores. During a week of driving some 300 miles the fuel consumption was never below 60mpg and my highest recorded figure was just over 64mpg. Not bad at all for a car that has sportscar-like zip.
The new Astra is a bit lighter than previous versions, which obviously helps with both performance and economy, and a redesigned interior