Vauxhall Astra 2022 review

1 Vahxuall Astra 2022 european first drive tracking front

Eye-catching to look at, refined and polished to drive, and well equipped – but notably pricier and less practical than its big-selling predecessors

The eighth-generation Vauxhall Astra. It’s a handsome devil, isn’t it? And, lordy, didn’t it need to be. I mean, it’s a hatchback to start with. Fewer and fewer people seem to want one of those, and fewer still when the one in question isn’t great-looking or premium-brand desirable.But also because this is a car that represents huge technical change for one of Britain’s longest-lived and most successful compact cars. The first Astra of Vauxhall’s Stellantis-owned corporate era, this car effectively switches onto a widely updated version of what, not so long ago, we’d have called a PSA Group model architecture: a Peugeot 308 chassis, basically. It adopts engines and suspension technology that we’d have been happy enough to describe in exactly the same terms. It will also be the first Astra to offer electrified powertrains, and in no small number: in time, there will be two plug-in hybrids and a fully electric version.So there was always the risk that this new car simply wouldn’t look, feel or drive very much like what we might recognise as a Vauxhall Astra at all. But how well Vauxhall has sidestepped that little problem – with the perfect diversionary tactic. You just look at the new car – with its 1960s Bill Mitchell-inspired ‘sheer’ surfaces, its ‘Vauxhall Vizor’ front grille, and all of those retro-cool design references to the early ’80s Astra Mk1 and the ’70s Opel Manta – and somehow you can’t help but say: “Wow, that’s a bit of all right.”Broadly speaking, this Astra’s a bit of all right to drive as well, although I’m not sure I mean that in quite the same way. It’s more refined and feels more sophisticated than any of its forebears and it’s more dynamically competent too. Pretty good; just not particularly memorable.Autocar RSS Feed Read More