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New Vauxhall Astra news - Astra goes posh - 2009

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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… 

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