Is Vauxhall’s new electric Astra estate worthy of a £40,000 entry price?
The EV Astra now has space for your Great Dane and the week’s supermarket sweep. But how does it stack up against premium badge-wearing electric alternatives?
It doesn’t seem like too many moons ago that £40,000 would get you into a brand-new BMW M3, alas, such is the erosive effect of inflation, that same figure today buys just the entry-level battery-powered Vauxhall Astra. But before you get all bleary eyed about rising interest rates and the state of the economy, that is a sizeable chunk of change for an Astra — even by modern standards.
At nearly £10,000 more than its ICE equivalent, the electric Astra Sports Tourer is positioned dangerously close to the likes of Tesla's Model 3 and other faster, more efficient EV alternatives. So, what are you getting for that extra cash?
On the face of it: not a lot. With a 51kWh battery pack the EV Astra Estate can muster around 260 miles of electric range — respectable but also unexceptional. That being said, a standard heat pump should ensure those miles don’t deplete as temperatures begin to drop.
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Performance is equally unlikely to bowl you over. With a quoted 156 bhp and a 0-60 mph time in the low 9 seconds range, don’t expect to be pushed into your seat with too much enthusiasm. Although, those horses should at least be more easily accessible compared to combustion-powered predecessors.
As you’d expect, boot space is a definite strength – 516 litres with the seats up and 1553 with the seats down is a lot by any standard. However, at 548 litres, Peugeot’s E-308 SW is your best bet if cargo capacity is a top priority.
Standard kit has long been a Vauxhall strong suit, and luckily this Astra is no different. Even in its most basic Design trim, the Astra benefits from nifty 18-inch alloys wearing range-enhancing Michelin e.Primacy rubber. There’s also three different driving modes to choose from, front and rear parking sensors, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and more screens than you can shake a stick at.
For an added five and a half grand buyers can opt for the top-of-the-tree Ultimate spec. Here, highlights include intelligent pixel headlights – capable of blanking their beam to provide maximum illumination without dazzling oncoming traffic – as well as a panoramic roof and wireless mobile charging.
Vauxhall says further improvements have been made over the ICE Astra in regard to the chassis. Stiffness is up a notable 31%, which should make the EV a sharper steer – assuming it can overcome the impact of an increased kerb weight.
For those with a close eye on the purse strings, Vauxhall’s new electric Sports Tourer will be a tough sell. Nonetheless, the sting of that £10,000 premium should be lessened when it comes to lower fuel bills and reduced maintenance requirements. Do you think the EV Astra represents money well spent, or dosh down the drain?
Hero image credit: Vauxhall