The Vauxhall Astra regularly threatens the top of the sales charts making it a very common sight on UK roads. The estate version, or Sports Tourer in Vauxhall speak, offers Astra buyers additional space with only a small reduction in the official fuel economy figures.
Given the estate credentials we’ll start with the load lugging capability. If you leave the seats up you get 500 litres of storage space which increases to 1,550 litres if you drop the rear seats. Compared to its direct rivals the Astra is pretty much mid-pack in this respect, although on the positive side the load area is a practical shape, so it’s easy enough to get stuff in and out.
The rest of the interior will be familiar to Astra hatch owners. The quality of the materials used is good but to our eye the design is less than inviting with a selection of fiddly buttons strewn across the dashboard. In Design trim, the dashboard also looks drab with swathes of black plastic; if you upgrade you do at least get a bit of silver trim to brighten things up.
The 1.6-litre turbodiesel produces 109 bhp (110 ps hence the model name) at 4,000 rpm and 221 lb ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. This means that despite being slightly smaller than the 1.7-litre diesel engine it can produce more torque for the same power output and also delivers a useful improvement in the official fuel economy figures.
The Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer offers decent load capacity and if you keep the car you get a lifetime warranty (sell it and it reduces to 3 years). It is also comfortable and decent-looking for an estate car. On the negative side, it is relatively expensive and isn’t that exciting to drive.