Vauxhall Astra Mk 6 (2009-2015)
A very practical family car that just falls short of the Focus and Golf.
Spacious cabin
Frugal 1.7-litre diesel engine
Low running costs
Dull to drive
Daunting range of engines and trim levels
Lifetime warranty capped at 100,000 miles

Vauxhall Astra Mk 6 review (2009-2015)

Vauxhall’s British-built compact family car offers something for everyone: a practical five-door model, a sporty three-door and an estate holdall.

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What is the Vauxhall Astra Mk 6?

This is Vauxhall’s British-built compact family car that competes with the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. It was launched in 2009 and comes in a broad line-up of practical five-door models, sporty three-door versions (GTC) and even an estate hold-all (Sport Tourer).

The variety of trim levels and engines is daunting, so allow us to fast-track you to an excellent all-round performer, the Astra ES 1.7 CDTi ecoFlex Start/Stop. At £19,380, it’s good value compared with higher-specification models, and the running costs are competitive, thanks to impressive fuel economy of 76.3mpg and exemption from road tax.

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Private buyers may be swayed by Vauxhall’s offer of a lifetime warranty, but read the small print before signing on the line. All is not as it seems, as there are mileage restrictions, in this case 100,000 — not exactly a lifetime. And private and business buyers alike should should haggle hard for a discounted price, as it’s a competitive market sector and deals are available.

The drive

Our pick of the range, the 1.7 CDTi ecoFlex features a stop-start system to help it achieve low emissions — just 99g/km — which means owners don’t need to pay road tax and you can drive into central London without incurring the  congestion charge.

The turbodiesel unit is a punchy performer when you want it to be, and sips fuel when you’re not in a hurry. There’s a little bit of rattle and clatter when it’s worked hard, but at a steady cruise refinement is first rate, helped in part by a calm, unruffled ride that does a good job of shielding passengers from the true state of British roads.

Its main let-down is that somebody in the engineering department with responsibility for fun was on holiday when the time came to tuning the Astra’s steering and suspension. This is a perfectly competent car, but compared with a Focus or Golf it feels a bit boring, like the dull couple nobody wants to sit next to at a dinner party.

If you prefer petrol power, try the 1.4-litre turbocharged unit, which offers spirited performance without drinking excessive amounts of fuel.

The interior

Whether you’re a company car driver shuttling clients to and fro, a family of four with everything but the kitchen sink in tow or a retired couple occasionally taking friends or family out for the day, the Astra’s cabin will prove accommodating and practical.

Despite the body’s curvaceous look, it is surprisingly spacious: five adults can fit in with comfort, as legroom and headroom are generous and there’s plenty of shoulder space. The Astra also features a wealth of stowage compartments and drinks holders, and the boot is a good size — 351 litres. Folding the split rear seats increases this to 1,216 litres, and although there is a ridge created by the folded seats, Vauxhall offers the option of a packing shelf that levels out the floor and creates a useful underfloor compartment.

The design of the dashboard is more modern than the rather sombre styling in the Golf and Focus, and comes as a breath of fresh air. But there are a few irritations, such as a plethora of small switches that takes some getting used to. The driving position is comfortable, and there’s a wide range of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel.


The one to buy

Vauxhall Astra Exclusiv 1.7 CDTi ecoFlex Start/Stop


£19,380 (correct at first publication)
1686cc, 4 cylinders
108bhp @ 3800rpm
192 lb ft @ 1700rpm
6-speed manual
0-60mph in 11.8sec
Top speed:
76.3mpg (combined)
76.3mpg (combined)
Road tax band:
L 4419mm, W 1814mm, H 1510mm

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