FirstDrive: Vauxhall Astra 1.6i VVT Exclusiv 5dr – Practicality / spec

Our third-from bottom Exclusiv trim come with electric front windows and mirrors, an auxiliary socket, steering wheel mounted audio controls, air conditioning, cruise control and ESP. All the models above this spec come with alloy wheels and better seat trims, so get one of those if you can. If not, the Exclusiv does cover all the basics.

Vauxhall Astra interior front
Vauxhall Astra interior front*

The driving position isn’t quite perfect, unaided by the flat seats but you at least can sit low enough to the ground. The steering wheel looks and feels one size too big and the pedals are heavier to use than on the equivalent Focus or Golf. The main bugbear though comes from the particularly thick A-pillars which make viewing out at junctions a bit of a pain.

The cluttered dash is more difficult to use at night when you’re met with a smattering of orange lights, and the cubby hole in front of the gearlever housing the aux socket wasn’t quite big enough to fit the iPod + cable reel plugged into it.

Vauxhall Astra Dash Night
Vauxhall Astra Dash Night*

There is plenty of space on offer though front and rear, so there is a silver lining to that enlarged and much rounded shape over the previous model. Rear headroom still isn’t great with the sloping roof but it’s by no means a mean offender.

The boot is big enough for most people’s needs, being above average in size. You’ll have to heave heavier objects over that fat rear bumper though, which means at some point that trim may succumb to a bit of scuffing. If you decide to go for an SRi model or above though, it should come with a false boot floor which will make unloading things a bit easier.

Vauxhall Astra Boot
Vauxhall Astra Boot*

Spec: Exclusiv 5dr hatch
Engine: 1.6 Petrol, 115bhp (@ 6000rpm), 114lb ft (@ 4000rpm)
Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
Mpg: Official: 44.8mpg Achieved: 34mpg
Performance: 0-62mph: 10.9 Secs, 118mph
Colour: Technical Grey
Options: None

*Pictures sourced for reference only from AutoTrader


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