New Astra Sports Tourer is Vauxhall's first electrified estate
David Roy previews Vauxhall's all-new Astra Sports Tourer, the company's first ever electrified estate car which will be available to buy early next year...
WE'RE big fans of decent estate cars here at Drive Towers, even though such practical family load luggers have seemingly become an endangered 'species' in the age of the SUV, writes David Roy.
Happily, Vauxhall's new Astra Sports Tourer looks set to provide a very attractive option for anyone in the market for a small estate car.
The 2021 Astra Sports Tourer is the Luton-bred marque's only current long-roof offering after it decided to quietly kill off the larger Insignia Sports Tourer in late 2019 due to flagging sales in the UK sector.
Available to order from early next year, the 2022 Astra Sports Tourer marks a major revamp for the model. It follows hot on the heels of the new Astra hatchback and also receives the striking Chevy Camaro-esque 'Vauxhall Vizor' front end treatment which unites the latest range of Griffin-badged motors.
Crucially, the Sports Tourer also looks good from behind, kind of a sleeker take on the rear-end of the VW Golf estate which it will be competing against and certainly a step up from the rather insectoid back end of the outgoing Vauxhall model.
The new Sports Tourer will also be the company's first ever electrified estate car, available for the first time with plug-in hybrid technology that produces up to a combined 222bhp via Vauxhall's eight-speed automatic transmission, while petrol and diesel engines offer a range of outputs from 108bhp to 128bhp in conjunction with a six-speed gearbox.
While Vauxhall have already announced a fully electrified version of their new Astra hatchback for 2023, the Astra-e, there's no word yet on whether the estate version will get a similar treatment.
Size wise, it measures up at 4,642mm long, 1,860mm wide and 1,480mm tall, with a loading height of 600mm. At 2,732mm, the Sports Tourer features a 57mm longer wheelbase than the latest Astra hatchback.
The Sports Tourer is actually slightly smaller in length than the outgoing model – a whole 60mm, in fact – thanks to a shorter front overhang, but there's slightly more room in the back for the petrol and diesel versions, at 1,634l of space with seats folded flat compared to the older car's1,600l. And the seats do fold properly flat (a 'must have' feature of any serious estate car), offering a 40:20:40-split for various load/passenger configurations.
The new plug-in hybrid variant of the latest Astra estate loses 60l of boot space to its underfloor lithium-ion battery, and those wishing to avail of the extra PHEV power also lose the ability to spec their Sports Tourer with the optional 'Intelli-Space' adjustable rear load floor, which can be set to high, low and 45-degree tilt positions.
Vauxhall are keen to point out that, unlike competitors, the Sports Tourer's retractable boot storage cover can be stowed when the moveable floor is in both its upper and lower positions. Tyre repair and first aid kits are also stored in underfloor compartments that are accessible from the boot or rear passenger area without the need to unload the car.
The new generation Sports Tourer also features a fully refreshed interior, with Vauxhall's fully digital Pure Panel human-machine-interface (HMI) offering drivers information and entertainment via the 10-inch instrument cluster and 10-inch digital touchscreen, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto installed as standard across all models.
Vauxhall have clearly learned from Volkswagen's mistakes by ensuring that key controls like heating and ventilation settings can be adjusted via physical switches for ease of access while on the move.
You will also be kept comfortable while onboard thanks to the Astra Sports Tourer's AGR-certified (as in the Aktion Gesunder Rücken eV campaign for healthier backs) front seats. Developed in-house, these are ultra-ergonomic affairs which Vauxhall claim will make the Astra best in its class for long journey comfort.
We look forward to testing that out next year: pricing and specification details for the new Astra Sports Tourer will be announced at the on-sale date, with first customer deliveries expected early summer 2022.