Vauxhall is ready to attack the compact segment with the new generation Astra. It is one of the best sold compact cars and is one in the eight generation.

Vauxhall will offer the new Astra in two performance levels as a plug-in hybrid. In addition, there are versions with highly efficient petrol and diesel engines in combination with friction-optimised six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions.

After the Mokka, Crossland and Grandland SUVs, the new Astra is Vauxhall’s first hatchback to interpret the brand’s design philosophy. The Vauxhall Vizor (the new face of the brand first seen on the Mokka and the central exterior design element) follows the Vauxhall Compass where the vertical and horizontal axes – the sharp crease in the hood and the wing shaped graphic of the daylight running lamps – intersect with the Vauxhall Griffin emblem in the middle. Stretching across the front, making the new Astra look even wider, the Vizor also seamlessly integrates technologies such as the ultra-slim Intelli-Lux LED headlamps and the front camera of the Intelli-Vision system. Viewed from the side, the next-generation Astra looks especially dynamic thanks to the pronounced forward rake of the C-pillar.

At the rear, the Vauxhall Compass is repeated by the centrally mounted Griffin, the vertically aligned high-mounted brake lamp and the tail lamps (energy-saving LED, as is all exterior lighting). The Griffin emblem also doubles as the latch for the tailgate, which is made of state-of-the-art composite material. This technology is not only light in weight and rigid, it also allows the precise execution of design details such as the especially slim tail lamps. The Astra is available with two-tone paint.

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The interior absolute highlight is the next generation of the Pure Panel, first introduced in the Mokka. This expansive, digital cockpit (optionally fully glazed) features two 10-inch displays, seamlessly integrated – together with the driver’s side air vent – in a horizontal format. Thanks to a shutter-like layer that prevents upward reflections in the windscreen, the design dispenses with a hood over the displays, which further enhances the high-tech functionality and ambience.

With the physical controls reduced to the minimum in the form of finely crafted keys, the Pure Panel achieves the optimum balance between digitisation and intuitive operation, detoxed of irritating visual stimuli and without the need for sub-menus. There is no need for cables either, since the infotainment system – which can be operated by voice recognition as well as by touch – can be connected as standard on all model variants to wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via compatible smartphones.

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The new Astra is based on the third generation of the highly flexible EMP2 multi-energy architecture, with Vauxhall DNA built in from the start of development. This means that the handling is composed as well as dynamic.

The steering and lateral stiffness of the chassis – McPherson strut suspension at the front, torsion bar at the rear – are designed for high yaw control (damping of the movement around the horizontal axis). Under braking, the new model delivers strong stopping power and remains highly stable in curves as well as in a straight line. The torsional rigidity of new Astra is 14 per cent higher than its predecessor.

The long list of automated driver assistance systems also includes adaptive cruise control, which increases or decreases speed to follow the vehicle ahead – without exceeding the set speed – and can brake to a standstill if necessary. With the automatic transmission, driving resumes automatically thanks to “Stop & Go”.

The list of assistance systems additionally features a large Intelli-HuD head-up display, long-range blind-spot detection, Intelli-Vision 360o camera for easier parking, extended traffic sign recognition, rear cross-traffic alert and active lane positioning, which keeps the car in the middle of the driving lane.

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Vauxhall’s ergonomic AGR seats enjoy an award-winning reputation and the new Astra continues this long-standing tradition. Certified by “Aktion Gesunder Rücken e. V.” (“Campaign for Healthy Backs”) the position of the front seats is 12mm lower than in the previous model, further enhancing the feeling of a “sporty” drive. Good posture is guaranteed, with the foam density of the seats optimised according to the “Sport” or “Comfort” contours.

The new Astra will be available from the start of sales with powerful plug-in hybrid electric drive as well as highly efficient petrol and diesel engines, electrifying Vauxhall’s compact class model for the first time in the brand’s history. Power ranges from 81kW (110PS) to 96kW (130PS) with the petrol and diesel variants and up to 165kW (225PS) system output with the plug-in hybrid variants. A six-speed gearbox is standard on the petrol and diesel power units, with an eight-speed automatic transmission (electrified on the plug-in hybrids) optional on the more powerful engines.

Vauxhall will open the order books for the new Astra this autumn. The first customers will take delivery of their cars early next year. Further details including UK pricing and specification will be announced at the on sale date.