Vauxhall has long been considered one of the best family car creators in the industry. The Vauxhall Astra is a front-runner in the small family hatchback class, and competes strongly against the VW Golf and SEAT Ateca, while being widely acknowledged to be better than its main rival; Ford Focus. And the new Vauxhall GTC range is up there with their best – but with a twist in the three models.
One is the high-tech, one the sporty choice, and the third might seem like you basic version, but is still equipped with all the high standard specs we expect from a top-selling brand. All of the GTC’s are three-door, making them less of a family car, and creates a more streamlined look, with a slow-curved roof and a shark-fin aerial on each modal.
The Astra GTC was developed and tested in the UK, and the proof is in the way it manoeuvres around the UK cities and through the winding country lanes. All three models look great and come with a wide range of colours to choose from, because if you’re spending upwards of twenty-thousand on a car, you want it to look as good as it performs. And even though this latest Astra is smaller on the outside than the last model, it actually has more space on the inside. It has a tiny Tardis complex.
It also trumps its predecessor in price and technology too. Where we have already said that one model – the SRI to be exact – is more hyped up on the technology side, each model is equipped with the latest technology Vauxhall has to offer. The SRI, with its 1.0-litre turbo petrol, three-cylinder engine, does come out on top in this three-car line up. It’s performance is fantastic, has fantastic handling, looks great and sits at the top tech-wise. It’s definitely a top contender as an affordable family hatchback.
The smooth ride of the new Astra is due to the 200kg weight loss, and the engineers who saw the potential here. The suspension is rigid enough that you’re not going to be bouncing around the road, but loose enough that you won’t be wincing over every pothole you come across. The lower weight also ensures that the car doesn’t feel underpowered, even with the 104bhp 1.0-litre, turbocharged engine. The way the Astra drives is really down to the engines. Where the ‘Whisper’ diesels might not be whisper quiet – they are much more so than their rivals.
And, for a family car, the sportier settings blend in nicely. The GTC models use the same chassis settings as other Astra’s, but the wheel and tyre combinations make a slight difference to the handling and riding balance. The steering is light through corners, and where there isn’t much feedback, on SRI models, the ride is composed and more compliant than the car’s that came before it.