The Vauxhall Astra Mk6 was a massive improvement over its predecessor, but it was still only average in most departments – at best. As a used buy the Astra is much easier to recommend though, largely because of the value factor – you get plenty for your money. And with lots of examples to choose from, you won’t struggle to find the best engine, trim and bodystyle for your needs. The three-door GTC looks especially sharp while the capacious estate is ideal for anyone on a budget who needs to cart stuff about.
12/09: The Astra Mk6 five-door hatch arrives, with 1.4 or 1.6 petrol engines (normally aspirated or turbocharged), and 1.7 CDTi or 2.0 CDTi diesels.
12/10: There’s now a five-door estate.
7/11: A sharply styled three-door hatch arrives, the GTC.
6/11: The Astra Ecoflex has CO2 emissions of just 99g/km
7/12: The 280bhp Astra VXR goes on sale.
07/12: A facelift brings tweaked styling, a longer options list and the introduction of a twin-turbo 2.0 CDTi engine.
2/14: A 97g/km 1.6 CDTi engine debuts.
- The M32 six-speed manual gearbox can fail; Vauxhall has been known to contribute, even outside the warranty.
- Look in the boot for signs of water leaks. Make sure you check the spare wheel well while you’re at it.
- The fit and finish of some of the interior trim can be an issue, while squeaks, creaks and rattles aren’t uncommon.
- The cruise control can disengage and the brake lights can flicker, because of a known fault with the parking brake sensor.
- The ball joints in the front suspension wear, leading to knocking as the car is driven over bumps; replacements are cheap.
- There’s an electronic parking brake on cars with SE trim and above. It can disengage for no apparent reason.
- Smart design
- Strong value
- Wide choice
- High-quality cabin
- Generally well equipped
- Reasonably reliable
We don’t like
- Disappointing dynamics
- Low-rent image