I drove Vauxhall’s sporty new hybrid Astra – it looks and drives like a hot hatch, but it didn’t get my juices flowing

DOES Vauxhall KNOW something others don’t?

We hope so.

This week I drove another new flavor of Astra

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This week I drove another new flavor of AstraPhoto credit: Astra
The cabin looks great and the seats are super comfortable

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The cabin looks great and the seats are super comfortable

Everyone else, including age-old foe Ford, is giving up small cars and hatchbacks for money-making crossovers and SUVs.

Fiesta will be canceled this summer, Focus will go in 2025.

Whereas Opel not only continues with the old favorites Corsa and Astra, it’s pumping serious money into them.

This week I drove another new flavor of Astra.

It has 225 hp and revives the old GSe badge – only this time the letter ‘e’ stands for electric because it’s a plug-in hybrid.

It joins the lower-powered 180hp petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrids, all of which have been launched in the last two years.

There’s also an all-electric Astra on the way – and you can have either of them as a hatch or as a station wagon.

So lots of choice.

Corsa gets a fresh look later this year.

As I said, Vauxhall invests heavily in regular cars for all of us, with Corsa starting at £18,000, Mokka at £23,000 and Astra at £25,000.

But would I recommend the £40k Astra GSe?

It has 225 hp and revives the old GSe badge – only this time the letter'e' stands for electric because it's a plug-in hybrid

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It has 225 hp and revives the old GSe badge – only this time the letter ‘e’ stands for electric because it’s a plug-in hybridPhoto credit: Astra
There's also an all-electric Astra on the way - and you can have either of them as a hatch or as a station wagon

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There’s also an all-electric Astra on the way – and you can have either of them as a hatch or as a station wagon

Hmmm.

Yes and no.

First of all, the price is a bit steep. Second, it’s not a hot hatch.

It looks like one, drives like one – sporty suspension, good body control, precise steering – but it doesn’t get my juices flowing.

The main problem is the eight-speed automatic.

It doesn’t hold onto the gears long enough if you rush it.

Even in Sport mode, it’s too eager to shift up a gear in the name of efficiency.

And if you ask him to downshift before a corner, he will only do so if he wants to. It’s not enforced.

What I’m trying to say is it needs a manual override. And a little more bang.

Volkswagen’s Golf GTE has 245 horses and has been around since 2014.

Now for some positive aspects.

For those who place less emphasis on performance but want sporty looks combined with excellent economy and a full EV mode on demand, this could be just the car for you.

Especially company car drivers. The benefit rate is eight percent. We averaged 60mpg on a mix of freeway and twisty B-roads, and it’ll do up to 40mph 84mph on battery power alone.

You can use the petrol engine to charge the 12.4kWh battery on the go – rather than via a plug – but it’ll kill your mpg.

Other things to consider.

The cabin looks class. The seats are super comfortable.

Whereas Vauxhall is not only continuing with the old favorites Corsa and Astra, but is pumping serious money into them – Eighties Mk2 GTE

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Whereas Vauxhall is not only continuing with the old favorites Corsa and Astra, but is pumping serious money into them – Eighties Mk2 GTE

The digital dashboard is clean and simple. The head-up display is on par with the best of any car available today.

There are also buttons for essentials like volume and air conditioning, as well as for hand and back warming. We also like the little black panel behind the rear quarter windows, which is a nod to the Eighties Mk2 Astra GTE.

Another thing to know is that plug-in hybrids lose some boot space compared to regular petrol and diesel cars.

In this case, the GSe is 352 liters, which is 70 liters less. In addition, plug-in hybrids weigh 300 kg more.

So in summary.

The GSe is not meant for me. But it might suit you.

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I would take Astra GS Line 1.2 liter petrol for £28k.

This is a great family car, looks just as sharp and is £12,000 cheaper.

KEY FACTS: OPEL ASTRA GSe PLUG-IN HYBRID

  • Price: £40,550
  • Engine: 1.6 liter petrol with electric motor
  • Power: 225 hp, 360 Nm
  • 0-100km/h: 7.5s
  • Top speed: 146mph
  • Economy: 60mpg
  • EV range: 40 miles
  • CO2: 25 g/km
  • From: June

https://www.thesun.ie/motors/10117441/i-drove-vauxhall-sporty-hybrid-astra-gse/ I drove Vauxhall’s sporty new hybrid Astra – it looks and drives like a hot hatch, but it didn’t get my juices flowing

Fry Electronics Team

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