Vauxhall Astra GTC review
The Vauxhall Astra GTC is a sleek and sporty car that packs a punch! This three door coupe is great for zipping around in as Vauxhall have worked hard to make sure that you have a smooth ride, even on those bumpy country roads. Now that there is no three door Ford Focus, the Astra GTC has a huge opportunity to take its place as a front-runner in its class. But will it live up to expectations?
The GTC has strong and dynamic shoulder lines, demanding attention and announcing its presence as the sleekest sports coupe on the block.
Accompanied by 18inch alloy wheels as standard, this coupe’s smooth contours make it one of the most appealing three door cars on the block.
Longer and wider than its five door sibling, it offers much more room for passengers and in boots space. It’s also far closer to the ground, making it more aerodynamic and a much ‘cooler’ alternative.
Before you get inside the car you have to get in it. Obviously. This is fine if you have plenty of room on either side, but the huge doors would prove difficult when you’ve squeezed into a space in the supermarket car park.
Once you’re in and sat down, it feels like you’re quite low down. The beltline of the car is quite high, but no visibility is affected by this, you just feel a bit like a rally driver.
From the driver’s position, most of what you can see in front of you is buttons. Hundreds of buttons and knobs litter the dashboard, the main console and even the steering wheel. For previous Vauxhall owners this might be reassuring, but for new drivers it’s pretty intimidating.
The sporty and stylish exterior is echoed on the inside through the faux aluminium inserts on the centre console but it’s not as bold as the line based bodywork of the car, and is rather underwhelming in comparison.
The whole cabin space is quite luxurious, though this model is only available in a three door capacity. The rear seats can fit two adults comfortably as there’s ample leg room, however, they won’t have a great view as the windows are slightly restricted by the columns at the back of the car.
A great feature of the Vauxhall Astra GTC is the inclusion of Infotainment. A range of gadgets and gizmos to make your driving experience that little bit more entertaining. As standard you get Intellilink; this integrates with your smartphone and allows you to display the most important functions (phone calls, maps etc) on the high definition 7 inch screen. You also get the standard CD player, digital radio, USB connection and aux-in socket as standard too.
As part of Intellilink, you get Infinity Sound; 45w direct channels to drive 7 premium speakers and an 8-inch subwoofer. This is then fine-tuned with digital sound processing for accurate response, bringing you great quality tunes at all times!
Bluetooth Connect is available with the GTC but you do have to pay extra for this. Though once you’ve got it you can control it via the steering wheel or voice control. The Sat Nav is also built in at an additional cost, so we would recommend using your mobile/screen combination from the Intellilink system if you need a navigation system so that you can save some pennies.
On the road
The Vauxhall Astra GTC is one of the first to use
HiPerStrut, a new suspension system that reduces torque steer and steering
corruption, making the car grip and turn much more easily than Vauxhall’s
previous cars. This makes the Astra well suited to driving on British roads
where tight corners and bumps (and pot holes) are around every corner.
This is a quick little car, and each of the six engines available bring something a little different to the table. For example, the 1.6CDTi 110PS and 136PS ecoFlex ‘Whisper Diesel’ units boast among the lowest CO2 emissions in their class. The three petrol engines and the three diesel are all matched to a slick six-speed transmission or (on selected power units) a six speed automatic.
To cut down on emissions, Vauxhall has installed a Start/Stop fuel-saving and emissions-reducing technology. The engine turns itself off automatically while you stop at lights, or you’re in a jam, and then restarts when the clutch is depressed. It’s a pretty clever gadget that saves the environment, but it does take some getting used to as many people go for the key when the engine’s turned off.
At the flick of one (of the many) buttons, you can go from Sports mode to tour. Within each mode the FlexRide system automatically adjusts the car’s dampers to make sure that the car has excellent grip.
Other driving assistance gadgets are available (including a front camera, lane departure warning and forward collision alert displays) but most are at an additional cost. Though we can’t deny that the ‘Advance Park Assist’ might come in useful now and again.
A feature we love is the adaptive forward lighting. Smart lights change their pattern to suit your environment and the weather. Sensing where you need light most, the lights can work out if a vehicle is coming the other way so then they automatically dip so as not to dazzle other drivers. A great feature, especially for long night drives.
Vauxhall have also brought OnStar over from the US and are giving GTC owners to have in-car access to a trained advisor 24/7, 365 days a year and emergency assistance. You can also take advantage of a 4G in-car wifi hotspot that can connect up to seven devices simultaneously!
Starting just from £18,495 for a lower-powered 118bhp 1.4 litre petrol engine, it’s quite a reasonably priced new coupe. But a lot of the extras (such as Sat Nav and parking assistance) do rack up to cost a hefty sum.
The sleek exterior is a big plus for this car and it’s definitely a smooth drive. It won’t break the bank and does sit quite comfortably among the top of its class. This is a truly agile drive that is more suited to your young, sportier individual who doesn’t mind splashing a bit of cash to get all the extra goodies with it.