We’ve been looking forward to towing with the new Vauxhall Astra and it didn’t disappoint.
First and foremost, it’s a swift and stable towcar. The 2.0 CDTi engine is more than strong enough for any suitable match, pulling car and caravan from 30-60mph in just 12.5 seconds.
Our judges were just as happy with how the Astra tackled an emergency lane-change, darting between the cones and dragging the caravan obediently behind it. Whether slowing from high speed or dealing with a crosswind, nothing seemed to faze the Astra, although more responsive steering would have been welcome.
The button-operated parking brake held car and caravan still on our 1-in-6 test hill, and the strong engine pulled cleanly all the way to the top. The shallower slope used in the reversing test posed no challenge at all.
Our practicality judge wasn’t quite as impressed as the drivers, however. The Astra didn’t have room for all of our holiday luggage, and there was no sign of a 12V socket in the boot. Vauxhall told us the space-saver spare could be used when towing, but failed to include this advice in the handbook.
Leave the caravan behind and the engine’s considerable punch makes it easy to make the most of any overtaking opportunity. It’s quiet enough on long journeys and economical, too. You can expect 58.9mpg, according to official figures.
There’s plenty of head and legroom in the cabin, and the design and finish quality are a huge improvement over the previous-generation Astra.
The price tag of over £21,000 is rather high, although large discounts are available if you haggle. Make sure that you do, because the Astra is predicted to hold on to a modest 37% of its original price after three years.
2.0 VCDi 125 LS
2.0 TDCi Titanium 2WD
1.6 CRDi 115 2 5dr
1.4 CRDi 3 Ecodynamics
2.0 HDi FAP 150 Sport
1.6 TDI CR Greenline
2.0 CDTi (160PS) SRi 5dr
2.0 TDI Sportline