Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

We get behind the wheel of the much-anticipated 100% electric version of the Vauxhall Astra…

The family favourite that is the Vauxhall Astra was originally launched way back in 1980.

Available as a hatchback or rakish Sports Tourer (estate), the eighth-generation model was introduced in 2022.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Initially offered as a petrol or plug-in hybrid (PHEV), it’s arguably the new pure electric version that’s the most intriguing.

One thing is for sure, it has to be good because it’s up against some stiff EV opposition from the likes of the MG4, Volkswagen ID.4, Renault Megane E-Tech Electric, Cupra Born and quirky Ora Funky Cat (GWM Ora 03).

Low-slung and sleek, it features Vauxhall’s modern new ‘Vizor’ front end which houses LED headlights, sensors for the driver aids and safety technologies, plus the bold new Griffin logo.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Based on the same platform as its Stellantis cousin (the Peugeot e-308), it’s the best-looking Astra ever.

I particularly approve of the long bonnet complete with crease running down the middle – a nod to classic Vauxhalls.

The Astra Electric has a 54kWh battery paired with a 154bhp electric motor powering the front wheels. It can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and has a claimed range of 258 miles (256 miles for the Sports Tourer).

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Frankly, it feels quicker off the mark than the official figures suggest. Either way, it’s more than enough performance for everyday driving.

There are three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport). Eco dulls the throttle response which helps to maximise range, Sport ramps up the power, while Normal offers the best of both worlds.

Vauxhall says the Astra Electric’s heat pump means the electric motor can operate at maximum efficiency in hot or cold weather, and I got pretty close to the claimed 4.2 miles per kWh during my spell behind the wheel.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

I’d have to spend a week or so with the car to work out how efficient it really is, but I’d estimate the Astra Electric has a real-world range of around 200 miles – more in city driving.

If you have a home wallbox, the battery will charge to 100% overnight. Hook it up to a 100kW public rapid charger and it will boost the battery from 20-80% in just 26 minutes.

Sadly there are no paddles on the steering wheel to adjust brake regeneration, but you can flick the gear selector to B-mode for more aggressive brake regen.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

Priced from £37,445, there are three trim levels – Design, GS and Ultimate.

The cabin of the Astra Electric has a more conventional look than many of its EV-only competitors, but it’s attractive, if a little dark.

It’s also well put together, but there are very few soft-touch surfaces and the materials used are by no means plush.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

That said, it’s comfortable, uncluttered and space is OK, while the slick new infotainment set-up, with its 10-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch central display, is intuitive and works well.

It’s fairly minimalist, but thankfully there are some short-cut buttons below the centre touchscreen, so accessing the heating, for instance, doesn’t involve tapping the touchscreen.

Additionally, there’s ‘Hey Vauxhall’ voice recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus an impressive list of safety and driver assistance features.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

If I had one quibble, it would be that I’d prefer a lower seating position – a common problem in EVs.

It’s also tighter for space in the back for adult-sized passengers, while boot capacity is an average 352 litres in the hatch (516 litres for the Sports Tourer), expanding to 1,268 litres (1,553 litres) with the rear seats folded.

The Astra Electric is easy to drive and handles well, offering a composed, if slightly firm ride.

Vauxhall Astra Electric review

There’s a little bit of road and wind noise on motorways, but for the most part it’s refined and comfortable on all but the poorest surfaces. Naturally, the Sports Tourer feels more substantial than the hatch, but it’s still agile and nicely balanced – despite weighing nearly 50kg more.

There’s some fun to be had in the Astra Electric, but it would be an exaggeration to call it dynamic and engaging. When pushed in Sport mode on more challenging roads, body roll is kept in check and there’s good grip, partly down to the balanced weight distribution and the positioning of the battery in the vehicle’s underbody.

Additionally, the steering is light, making it a doddle in town, but just like the Corsa Electric, the brakes aren’t very progressive.

Ultimately, the Astra Electric is a sensible family-sized introduction to electric motoring.

Verdict: The Vauxhall Astra Electric is stylish, straightforward, practical and easy to drive. However, some rivals offer a longer range for less money.

Vauxhall UK

Top 10 most expensive car parts to replace

Car maintenance

New research has revealed the most expensive car parts to replace in 2023, with the engine – the heart of a car – topping the chart.

Electronic car part remanufacturer, Actronics Ltd, conducted the study of the average cost of replacing new car parts for the top five most frequently driven car models in the UK – the Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus, and Ford Fiesta.

With an average cost of £2,685 an engine replacement took top spot, following closely in second place by the gearbox, averaging around £1,072.

Airbags were in third place, with an average cost of £1,045.99, while the average cost of all the car parts featured in the Top 10 was £787.80.

Next on the list was the Engine Control Unit (ECU) typically costing on average £932.51. The ECU is a specialised electronic component that requires precise engineering and manufacturing. The complexity of its design and the advanced technology involved contribute to its cost.

Moving down the list, next is the sat nav/stereo system, with an average cost of around £639.10 for replacement. Then there is the catalytic converter, which costs an average of £351.67 to replace.

In seventh place is the radiator, with an average cost of around £344.80 for replacement. The fuel pump, shock absorber and ignition coil bottom out the list costing £322.68, £307.40 and £176.80 respectively to replace.

“The cost of car parts is becoming increasingly expensive, putting a strain on many people’s budgets,” said a Actronics spokesperson.

“In some cases, the cost of repairing a car can be more than the value of the car itself.

“We believe that refurbishing car parts is a viable option for many people.

“Remanufactured car parts are often just as good as new parts, and they can save you a significant amount of money.”

Top 10 most scrapped cars in the UK

Gareth Herincx

12 hours ago
Auto News

Ford-Focus-Mk-2

The Ford Focus was the most scrapped car model in 2022, according to new data from the Scrap Car Comparison service.

The Vauxhall Corsa was revealed as the second most scrapped model, with its larger sibling – the Astra – following in third.

It’s no surprise that the Focus topped the chart for the sixth year running. Go back 14 years (the average age of scrapped vehicles) and it was a time when the family hatchback was flying out of new car showrooms.

New additions to the 2022 list of most scrapped cars include the executive BMW 3 Series (more than the 1 Series, 5 Series and X5s combined), the Ford Transit van and MINI hatch.

Top 10 most scrapped car models in 2022

  1. Ford Focus
  2. Vauxhall Corsa
  3. Vauxhall Astra
  4. Ford Fiesta
  5. Volkswagen Golf
  6. BMW 3 Series
  7. Ford Transit
  8. Mini Hatch (Cooper/One)
  9. Vauxhall Zafira
  10. Renault Clio

Ford was also the most scrapped car manufacturer of 2022, followed by Vauxhall and Volkswagen.

New entry car manufacturers to the Top 10 included German brands BMW, Audi and Mercedes.

Top 10 most scrapped car makes in 2022

  1. Ford
  2. Vauxhall
  3. Volkswagen
  4. Peugeot
  5. Renault
  6. BMW
  7. Citroen
  8. Audi
  9. Toyota
  10. Mercedes

“This is the sixth year running where we’ve seen the Ford Focus come out on top as the most scrapped car, and we expect to see it featuring highly in our most scrapped lists for many years to come,” said said Dan Gick, Managing Director of Scrap Car Comparison.

“Popularity will always have a bearing on which cars are scrapped, and 2022’s results help to spotlight the enduring popularity of the Focus model, even if many do eventually meet the scrap heap.”

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Honda Civic review

Honda Civic e:HEV

We’ve been road testing the all-new Honda Civic, and it’s no surprise to us that it’s been winning awards…

The first Honda Civic was launched 50 years ago and it’s become a legendary model in the automotive world. Now it’s the turn of the 11th generation Civic, which is only available as a full hybrid, so there’s no need to plug it in.

Officially marketed as the ‘Civic e:HEV’, it’s an old school, family-friendly hatchback. Refreshing, when the market is awash with SUVs.

At 4,551mm long, 1,802mm wide and 1,408mm high, the substantial new Civic is the longest, widest and lowest hatchback in its class.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The advantage of the increased wheelbase over the outgoing model is that it creates extra cabin space.

So, there’s plenty of room up front, while rear passengers have space to stretch their legs, and only very tall people will struggle for headroom.

The boot is a generous 410 litres, rising to 1,220 litres with the back seats flipped down, while the load space is long and wide.

The interior represents a real step up in terms of quality and functionality. There’s a solid feel overall, the seats are comfortable and there are plenty of soft-touch surfaces.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The infotainment system isn’t the slickest, but does the job nicely. Most of all, the dashboard is not too minimalist – there are still dials and buttons for essentials such as climate control, radio volume, heated seats and drive mode selection.

At the heart of the latest Civic is Honda’s clever e:hev hybrid powertrain, which is a scaled up version of the system also used in the smaller Jazz and HR-V.

Unlike hybrid systems from most other car makers, the 2.0-litre engine acts as a generator to power the battery rather than the wheels for much of the time, so it runs in EV mode as much as possible.

However, at higher speeds or under heavy loads, it can send drive straight to the front wheels. What’s more, the e-CVT transmission isn’t a conventional gearbox either, but I’ll come to that later.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine (141bhp) is paired with two electric motors and a small 1.05kWh battery, giving a combined output of 181bhp.

Official figures tell much of the story, with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds and a 111mph top speed. CO2 emissions are as low as 108g/km, while fuel economy is up to 60.1mpg.

Until the new Civic Type R hits showrooms, buyers will have to make do with just the one hybrid powertrain.

Priced from £29,595, the Civic e:HEV is offered in one of three specs – Elegance, Sport and Advance.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

Entry-level Elegance gets 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a 7.0 digital instrument cluster, plus a 9.0-inch central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Safety and driver assistance features include lane-keep assist and traffic jam assist.

Sport models boast 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels, as well as black door mirrors and window frames. Inside, there’s faux leather upholstery and sportier pedals.

The range-topping Advance is treated to 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, full leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a larger 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.

Once inside, it’s immediately clear that you’re driving a rakish, fairly wide hatchback. If you’re used to the raised seating and commanding driving position of an SUV, it may take a while to acclimatise to the new Civic.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

I love a low seating position. In fact, I would have preferred a little more downward adjustment, but overall, it’s a relaxed and comfortable place to be.

There’s plenty of poke, thanks to that electrical assistance, but the biggest surprise is the e-CVT gearbox.

The boffins at Honda have done their best to eradicate the sudden rise in revs you generally get when you put your foot down in a car with a conventional CVT box.

Instead, there are ‘steps’, giving the feel of conventional transmission ratios. It’s still not perfect, but it is a huge improvement.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

There are three drive modes (Econ, Normal and Sport). Go for Econ on motorway journeys and 50 mpg is easily achieved, Normal is just fine for everyday driving, while Sport is fun for blasts on more challenging roads. The e-CVT works best in Normal and Sport modes.

The hybrid system is efficient and smooth, while the regenerative braking can be adjusted. At its strongest setting, it’s almost at one-pedal level, slowing the car down virtually to a halt whilst charging up the battery.

The ride is on the firm side, but not uncomfortably so, but generally it’s a great all-rounder – happy cruising motorways and stretching its legs on more engaging roads.

In fact, the new Civic offers a surprisingly agile drive. When pushed, it stays flat in more challenging corners, there’s good grip and the steering is nicely weighted, which all bodes well for the upcoming Type R.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

Awarded a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing, the Civic is fitted with Honda Sensing (a suite of safety and driver assistance features) which includes goodies such as Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collison Mitigation Brake System, Intelligent Speed Limiter and Auto High-Beam Headlights as standard.

Rivals include the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Kia Ceed, Ford Focus, Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra, Mercedes A-Class, BMW 1 Series or Audi A3 Sportback.

Verdict: The Honda Civic is a fantastic all-rounder. A family-focused hatchback that’s sleek, safe, practical, well built and economical, it’s rewarding to drive and packed with the latest tech. Add Honda’s reputation for reliability and it’s right up there with the best in its class.

Honda UK

DS 4 review

DS 4 review

Once in a while I get to road test a new car I know little about, and it proves to be something of a revelation. The stunning DS 4 is one such vehicle.

A cross between a hatchback and a compact crossover, the five-door DS 4  challenges everything from the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class to the Audi Q2, BMW X2 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

And if you’re new to DS Automobiles, then it’s probably best described as Citroen’s premium spin-off sister brand.

Sharing a platform with other Stellantis group cars (eg Citroen C5 X, Vauxhall Astra and Peugeot 308) the DS 4 is available with petrol and diesel engines, plus a flagship plug-in hybrid.

DS 4 review

Priced from £29,710 to £43,550, there are two trim levels (Performance Line and Performance Line ), plus a DS 4 Cross which complements the stylish design of the DS 4 with SUV-inspired styling cues, including side skirts, gloss black roof bars, front and rear skid plates and black bumpers.

You only have to look at the pictures to see that the DS 4 oozes kerb appeal. Its profile is rakish with a blend of smooth surfaces and elegant lines – there are also big wheels and flush-fitting door handles.

The front is dominated by a large diamond mesh DS grille, slim matrix LED headlights and sharp vertical, zig-zag LED running lights, delivering a unique lighting signature, while the rear gets a slim window and sexy rear light clusters.

DS 4 review

All in all, the DS 4 has an athletic stance and if cars were judged purely on style, it would go straight to the top of the class.

It’s the same story inside where there’s a classy, hi-tech feel mixed with top build quality. DS does things differently and the uncluttered interior is a treat with numerous clever design touches. Who else would have thought of integrating the electric window switches so beautifully into the top of the door trim?

A special mention for the seats too, which are easily the most comfortable you will find in this price bracket. There’s plenty of space too, though taller passenger in the rear may struggle for headroom if you opt for the panoramic sunroof which eats into the roof space. Boot capacity is a decent 430 litres, expanding to 1,240 litres with the rear seats folded down.

DS 4 review

Every DS 4 features a 7.0-inch digital driver’s cluster, plus a 10.0-inch central touchscreen which its flush with the dashboard, while higher trim levels get a head-up display that’s projected neatly onto the windscreen.

The infotainment system takes some getting used to, but after a while you get the hang of it. The home screen is customisable and there are short-cut buttons below, but sadly essentials like the climate control are not permanently accessible.

There’s also a twinkly 5.0-inch touchpad (‘DS Smart Touch’) down near the gear selector, which allows you to pre-set up to six shortcuts – each with their own gesture movement. It’s a bit gimmicky, but anything that avoids tapping and swiping menus on the main infotainment screen when driving must be a good thing.

DS 4 review

To summarise, the DS 4’s infotainment system isn’t without its frustrations, but it will grow on you. If nothing else, it’s a thing of beauty – like the rest of the cabin.

I tested the entry-level DS 4 Performance Line PureTech 130, which is fitted a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo driving the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It may sound weedy for a car of this size, but it’s surprisingly powerful.

Developing 128bhp, it’s a punchy little unit and a mainstay within the Stellantis group of cars (Vauxhall, Citroen and Peugeot too).

DS 4 review

On paper it’s capable of up to 48.6mpg, while CO2 emissions are as low as 132g/km. Top speed is 130mph and its 0-62mph time is 10.4 seconds.

There’s a pleasant thrum from the engine when pushed, but such is the refinement of the DS 4’s cabin, it’s hardly noticeable in everyday driving.

Naturally, it’s in its element darting around in an urban environment, but it settles down well on the motorway too. Push it on more challenging roads and the engine will become a little more vocal and it will run out of puff. There’s a slight hesitation getting off the mark sometimes, but generally it works well.

DS 4 review

If you want more petrol power, then move up to the 1.6-litre four-cylinder options, delivering 178bhp and 222bhp respectively, or the plug-in hybrid which offers up to 398.5 miles of electric only motoring.

The DS 4 rides smoothly and feels planted, while body lean is well controlled in faster corners. Just the job, considering this is a car that prioritises comfort over hot handling.

Drive it sensibly and it will deliver close on 50mpg on longer runs. What’s more, you’ll arrive at your destination more relaxed than many of its rivals.

DS 4 review

You’ll also feel special, because the DS 4 turns heads (for all the right reasons), the interior is a designer wonderland and it’s a joy to drive. The best DS I’ve driven yet, it deserves to succeed.

Verdict: Test drive the gorgeous DS 4 if you’re in the market for a premium five-door family car that stands out from the crowd and delivers a tempting alternative to its German rivals. One of 2022’s biggest surprises, you may just fall for its stunning design, classy feel, comfortable drive and twinkly charms.

DS Automobiles UK