Sam Philip13 May 2009

Astra goes posh

Vauxhall reveals all-new sixth generation of its Focus rival. It’s like an Insignia for little people…

New Vauxhall Astra

See more new Astra pics

Vauxhall has released the first pictures of the new Astra, presumably in a five-minute coffee break during its Big Grown-Up Meetings with Fiat.

Set to reach the road at the end of this year, the new Astra is the sixth generation of Vauxhall's Ford Focus rival, and it's an all-new car on an all-new platform - a platform, in fact, that'll be shared with the upcoming Ampera electric car.

Longer and wider than the outgoing Astra, the new car will have a more upmarket interior - the centre console will feature the same wraparound design as in the Insignia - and should handle better too: Vauxhall has adopted a more sophisticated suspension set-up and also borrowed the Insignia's ‘Flexride' adaptive damping system.

That's not the only thing stolen from the Astra's big brother. Take a look at that ‘sideblade' kink which kicks up over the rear wheel arch - the reverse of the Insignia's profile. Expect all future Vauxhalls to feature some interpretation of the blade design.

Even in five-door guise, it's a good looking car - though is anyone else getting more than a hint of new Megane about the back end? - and Vauxhall has promised that the three-door ‘Sport Hatch' will be even more striking. Don't expect to see that until late 2010 at the earliest, though.

Engines will be cribbed from the Insignia and Corsa, but there's a new unit, too: a fizzy 138bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol which puts out 170lb ft of torque and essentially replaces the current 1.8-litre engine.

And what of the VXR version? Well, we won't see that one for a while - until after the three-door, so you might be looking as late as 2011, boo - but it'll be a lairy little monster: expect power to be well up on the current car's not-insignificant 237bhp. Here's hoping Vauxhall survives in its current form to deliver it... 

Now share it...

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.