- Astra Sports Tourer in UK showrooms from November 26
- Versatile and capacious cargo area combines with sleek design, inside and out
- Extended powertrain line-up enhanced by Start/Stop tech
- Major contribution by Vauxhall Engineering Centre to car’s development
The new Astra Sports Tourer promises to boost the appeal of the new Astra still further. Bolstering Vauxhall’s 12.6 per cent of the UK market share (latest SMMT figures), 12,465 Astras were registered in September 2010, and a total of 38,220 new 5-door Astra Hatches have found UK homes since the model launched in December 2009.
As a result, the Astra Hatch is now the best-selling car overall in the Lower-Medium sector (YTD 2010) and during September 2010 alone topped both LM retail and fleet charts, taking 15.74 and 19.70 per cent of sales respectively. Like its Mid-Size sibling, the Insignia, the Astra is proving more popular with retail customers than ever, while still enduring as a firm fleet favourite by providing Vauxhall customers with a compelling mix of perceived quality and fine driving dynamics.
Illustrating the depth of Vauxhall’s engineering and manufacturing excellence in the UK, the Sports Tourer will be assembled solely at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, while its new upper-body structure has been 100 per cent engineered at Vauxhall Engineering Centre in Bedfordshire. And like the recently launched Astra hatch, the Sports Tourer will feature key dynamic elements tuned for UK roads.
Practicality & Equipment
Packed with clever features, the Astra Sports Tourer maintains the hatch’s wheelbase (2685mm), yet its superior packaging has allowed the maximum load length to be increased by 28mm to 1835mm, and its load volume by 30 litres to 500 litres* with the rear seats up.
As well as boasting a cargo area with flat wall linings to fully optimise available space, a new FlexFold feature (standard or optional depending on trim level) allows each section of the 60:40 split-fold rear seatbacks to be lowered at the press of a button housed in the walls of the cargo compartment. In addition, with the rear seat cushions folded up against the front seat-backs, the Sports Tourer has a completely flat load floor and a maximum load capacity of up to 1550 litres.**
Completing the functionality of the rear cargo area is a two-touch luggage compartment cover. This easy access cover slides upwards and out of the way with a simple tap to load or remove smaller items. But for larger loads the cover retracts completely into a cassette, coming to a soft stop. When not needed, the complete assembly can be removed and stored below the load floor of the cargo space.
But improved interior practicality doesn’t stop there. Compared with the current Astra estate, the Sports Tourer has an additional 25 litres of storage space in the cabin, 50 per cent more than before. And like its hatch sibling, the Sports Tourer also benefits from the option of Vauxhall’s award winning Ergonomic Sports Seats, providing front occupants with best-in-class comfort.
*With optional tyre inflation kit fitted
**With optional tyre inflation kit fitted and rear seat cushions removed
The Astra Sports Tourer’s exterior design aims to raise the bar in the compact-estate market, bringing a touch of class and dynamism, without compromising the car’s high levels of practicality. The tapered profile, falling roofline and prominent ‘blades’ set into the sides of the car are complemented by a muscular shoulder line, which leads gracefully into eye-catching sculpted rear light units.
Inside, occupants will benefit from the same embracing, premium cabin as in the new Astra hatch, with features like the wraparound wing front fascia and unique ambient lighting.
From launch, Astra Sports Tourer buyers will have a choice of seven frugal, yet lively engines, with ultra-low emissions. There are Start/Stop-equipped ecoFLEX models available too.
The petrol line-up starts with the 100PS 1.4i ECOTEC-4 with variable valve timing and sequential fuel injection, while a 1.6i ECOTEC-4 with 115PS is also available. The Sports Tourer’s most powerful petrol engine will be the smooth and punchy 1.4i Turbo which produces 140PS, yet achieves a combined fuel consumption of 46.3mpg and C02 emissions of 144g/km.
The Astra Sports Tourer is one of the first Vauxhall models to get Start/Stop technology. Based on the 1.3 CDTi 95PS engine, the ecoFLEX features a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and variable geometry turbocharger.
Two 1.7-litre CDTis, with either 110 or 125PS, and a 160PS 2.0 CDTi, which combines high performance with 55.4mpg combined economy and emissions of just 134g/km, complete the Sports Tourer’s diesel engine range.*
*All figures quoted are provisional
From the start of the Astra Sports Tourer’s development, Vauxhall’s target was to maintain current levels of ride and handling enjoyed by the five-door hatch. As a consequence, its wheelbase remains the same at 2685mm, as do its front and rear tracks (1544 and 1588mm respectively).
Also carried over is the hatch’s innovative compound crank/Watt’s link rear suspension, which combines exceptional body control and ride characteristics and is unique to Vauxhall/Opel. For the Sports Tourer, the compound crank’s settings have been revised, as have damper calibrations, to cater for the model’s higher load capabilities without compromising the hatch’s dynamics.
Vauxhall has also carried over the steering settings from the hatch, which are bespoke to all new UK Astras. This programme offers drivers a more natural feel, thanks to careful tuning of the car’s electronic power steering system.
FlexRide, Vauxhall’s adaptive suspension system, is also available as an option on the Sports Tourer. The system continuously adapts to changes in driving style and cornering speed. In Standard mode, FlexRide offers the whole bandwidth of settings available and adjusts to suit the driver’s behaviour. In Tour mode, damper settings are relaxed to optimise ride quality, while in Sport mode, throttle and steering responses are sharpened, in addition to the adoption of stiffer damper settings.
For customers who tow, the Sports Tourer will be available with Vauxhall’s electronic Trailer Stability Assist system, which subtly brakes individual wheels to maintain control of the trailer/caravan in emergency situations.
The Astra Sports Tourer range starts with the 1.4 (100PS) ES model, which gains an extra 10PS of power over the equivalent 1.4 Astra Estate. It also adds: air conditioning, curtain airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESP), Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), an aux-in socket and Active Safety Front Head Restraints, all as standard.
Better still, the Sports Tourer’s premium over the 5-door hatch model starts from just £995, for which customers benefit from a larger cargo area (500 versus 470 litres, with rear seats up), despite retaining the same wheelbase as the new hatch.
The Sports Tourer range comprises four trim levels: ES, Exclusiv, SE and SRi, but adds a variety of standard and optional equipment, including FlexFold, which allows each section of the 60:40 split-fold rear seatbacks to be lowered at the press of a button housed in the walls of the cargo compartment.