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Vauxhall reveals first electrified Astra estate

First models set to arrive in early 2022, although no electric estate version yet announced

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Vauxhall has unveiled the Sports Tourer version of its new Astra family car, following the hatch that was revealed in September.

The eighth generation of the estate-bodied Astra will be Vauxhall’s first electrified estate. Like the hatch, it will go on sale next year with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid options. However, whether the full-electric Astra due on sale in 2023 will be offered as an estate is yet to be confirmed.

The new estate offers 608 litres of boot space, which is 68 litres more than its predecessor, and extends to 1,634 litres with the rear seats folded. This is despite the new Sports Tourer being 6cm shorter overall than the outgoing model, though the wheelbase is actually 6cm longer to help free up more interior space.

Buyers choosing the plug-in hybrid version will forfeit the extra space, however, losing 60 litres from the boot due to a need to accommodate the electrical system’s battery under the boot floor.

The rear seats can split fold in a 40:20:40 format and when they are folded the floor is completely flat to make accommodating long or bulky cargo easier.

Like the hatch, the new Sports Tourer adopts the latest Vauxhall family styling which debuted on the Mokka small SUV. It will also feature a completely changed interior with analogue dials on every version replaced by digital instrumentation. The ‘Pure Panel’ includes a ten-inch digital instrument cluster for the driver and another ten-inch colour touchscreen atop the centre console.

Vauxhall expects the first Astra Sports Tourer customers to receive their cars in early summer 2022. Dealers will start taking orders in the new year and prices will be announced then.

New Astra needs to recover from last model’s failure

Vauxhall will have its fingers firmly crossed that the new Astra range marks a resurgence in fortune for the long-serving name after a punishing few years.

If you were being polite, you’d probably say that the outgoing Astra has been something of a disappointment for Vauxhall. If you weren’t being quite so generous, you could more accurately describe it as an unmitigated disaster.

Although it was generally praised by the motoring media, it was never considered to be on a par with the Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus. And it certainly didn’t match its long-time rivals on the sales charts, either. While previous Astras had regularly appeared in the regular top ten best-sellers list, sales started sliding when the current model launched and didn’t stop. The last time that the Astra ended the year in the top ten was 2017, and it kept on falling.

In 2018, we reported that the Astra’s sub-par sales results were largely responsible for dragging down the overall UK car manufacturing results, and things didn’t improve for the rest of its production life.

The Astra’s struggles – right across Europe, not just here in the UK – led to endless speculation about the future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port where it was built. Eventually, Vauxhall’s new owners Stellantis decided to convert the factory to build electric vans, while the new Astra will be built in Germany.

The new model will be built on the same platform as the new Peugeot 308 and is likely to be far more cost-effective to build, which will certainly help its chances of success. Stellantis, Vauxhall and hundreds of dealers will be hoping that the new model can emulate its little sister – despite distinctly average media reviews, the current Corsa has dominated the sales charts since it was launched last year.
Stuart Masson, editor

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.