Review: Vauxhall Astra Electric 2023

From £35,475

The eighth-generation Vauxhall Astra hatchback was launched in 2022. Also available as a handsome Sports Tourer (estate), it was initially only offered as a petrol or plug-in hybrid (PHEV). All that has changed with the introduction of the 100% electric variant, also available as a hatchback and an estate.

The Vauxhall Astra Electric operates in an increasingly competitive class which includes its Stellantis cousin (the Peugeot e-308), the MG4, Volkswagen ID.3, Renault Megane E-Tech Electric, Cupra Born and quirky Ora Funky Cat, so no pressure there then. We drove the new Astra Electric in both body shapes on a variety of roads in the Cotswolds to find out whether it’s got what it takes.

> A distinctive, practical electric hatch: Read our review of the Peugeot e-308

Vauxhall Astra Electric – Exterior

We’re already big fans of the new Astra in its ICE (internal combustion engine) forms, and the good news is that, but for a bit of badging, it looks just as good. Sleek and low-slung, it boasts a fairly long bonnet with a crease running down the middle – a nod to classic Vauxhalls of days gone by. The Astra Electric has a sporty stance and features Vauxhall’s modern new ‘Vizor’ front end which houses LED headlights, sensors for the driver aids and safety technologies, plus the confident new Griffin logo.

Buy new: Vauxhall Astra Electric 2023

Lease: Vauxhall Astra Electric 2023

There’s also a choice of some eye-catching colours, including Electric Yellow and Cobalt Blue, and three trim levels – Design, GS and Ultimate (which gets IntelliLux Pixel Matrix LED headlamps, consisting of 168 individual LED lights, no less). As is often the case with estate versions of hatchbacks, the well-proportioned Astra Sports Tourer Electric is arguably even better looking. The EV estate sector is small too, so its only obvious rivals are the Peugeot E-308 SW and MG5 EV.

Vauxhall Astra Electric – Interior

The cabin of the Astra Electric may not have the wow factor of some rivals (eg Peugeot E-308 and Cupra Born), but it’s attractive, intuitive and works well enough. It’s also spacious and uncluttered up front with a slick new infotainment set-up, consisting of a 10-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch central display, while Ultimate models get a HUD head-up display (there’s a simple adjustment button in the door panel).

Thankfully there are still some short-cut buttons below the centre touchscreen, so accessing the heating, for instance, doesn’t involve flicking through a menu. Additionally, there’s ‘Hey Vauxhall’ voice recognition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, plus an impressive list of safety and driver assistance features.

The interior is well put together, but the Astra Electric won’t be troubling more premium opposition when it comes to the quality of materials used (there are very few soft-touch surfaces for one). That said, the seats are surprisingly comfortable and it’s easy to find a good driving position, though as ever in an EV, it would be nice if the seat could go lower.

There’s ample space up front, but it’s tighter in the back for adults. 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. Visibility is decent on the hatchback, except for the slim rear window, and you soon adjust to the extra length of the estate.

> The biggest EV revelation of 2022? Read our review of the MG4

Vauxhall Astra Electric – Performance and economy

The Astra Electric has a 54kWh battery paired with a 154bhp electric motor powering the front wheels. It can sprint from 0-62mph in a reasonable 9.2 seconds and has a claimed range of 258 miles (256 miles for the Sports Tourer). It felt quicker off the mark than the official figure suggests. Either way, it’s more than enough performance for everyday driving and will still lead most cars away from the traffic lights.

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

Vauxhall says the vehicle’s heat pump means the electric motor can operate at maximum efficiency in hot or cold weather, and we got pretty close to the claimed 4.2 miles per kWh during limited driving.

We’d have to spend a week or so with the car to work out how efficient I really is, but we’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 rapid connection and it will boost the battery from 20-80% in just 26 minutes.

It’s worth noting that 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.

> Has Vauxhall done enough to keep the Corsa Electric competitive in 2023? Read our review to find out?

Vauxhall Astra Electric – Handling

The Astra Electric is easy to drive and handles well, offering a composed, if slightly firm ride. 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 roughest 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 and Astra Sports Tourer Electric, but it would be an exaggeration to call them dynamic and engaging. That said, when pushed in Sport mode on twisty 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.

The steering is light, making it ideal for town driving, but just like the Corsa Electric we recently tested, the brakes aren’t very progressive

Ultimately, the Astra Electric isn’t flash, but it’s a sensible family-sized introduction to electric motoring.

Vauxhall Astra Electric – Verdict

Whether you go for the hatchback or load-lugging Sports Tourer, drivers making the switch from an ICE to EV family car will like the Vauxhall Astra Electric. Stylish, straightforward, practical and easy to drive, there’s a lot to like. However, it’s a bit on the expensive side. The MG4 is substantially cheaper, while an entry-level Tesla Model 3 is about the same price as a mid-range Astra Electric.

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Whether you go for the hatchback or load-lugging Sports Tourer, drivers making the switch from an ICE to EV family car will like the Vauxhall Astra Electric. Stylish, straightforward, practical and easy to drive, there’s a lot to like. However, it’s a bit on the expensive side.
Show More

Quality

3.00/5

Performance

3.00/5

Range

3.50/5

Comfort

3.50/5

Dynamics

3.00/5

Fast Facts

Price

£35,475

Battery Capacity

54 kWh

WLTP Range

258 miles

Maximum Power

154 bhp

Torque

199 lb-ft

0-60

9.2 secs

Top Speed

105 mph

Boot Capacity

352-
1268 litres

Pros and Cons

Fresh, modern looks
Easy to drive
Well equipped
Too expensive
Average range
Bland interior
Tight in the back
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