Vauxhall does have a history of turning mundane family cars into something a bit more interesting but they haven’t all been a success. This time the Astra provides the basic underpinnings and with the current Mark 6 model already proving itself to be a contender, it isn’t a bad place to start.
The GTC benefits from Vauxhall’s current styling language as the defined features and sharp lines lend themselves particularly well to a coupe shape. While turning the Astra into a coupe, Vauxhall has marginally increased the length and width and reduced the height by 28mm. One unexpected benefit of the change is that the GTC has a bigger boot than the hatch with 380 litres of capacity. Unfortunately the dashboard hasn’t changed which means lots of fiddly little buttons everywhere.
The 1.6-litre turbodiesel is a modern unit offering very good official fuel economy. With 109 bhp and 221 lb ft at 2,000 rpm the compromise is that performance is acceptable rather than sparkling, but the return at the pumps might be enough to seal the deal.
On the road the relative lack of power is compounded by long gearing which creates a lack of urgency, but the ride quality is good. Grip levels are decent but wet traction is an issue even with the advanced HiPerStrut front suspension which is designed to stop torque steer and improve traction. Otherwise good refinement is dented by engine noise which can be intrusive and isn’t overly tuneful.
The Vauxhall Astra GTC offers good practicality for a coupe and looks the part too. However the 1.6-litre diesel engine isn’t a perfect match and does take the edge off the fun turning the GTC into a cruiser rather than a bruiser. If you do a lot of motorway miles the fuel-sipping diesel is a boon but if you want some back road fun the competition does it a bit better.