Vauxhall Astra Electric Review (2023)


Early this year, Vauxhall said it would like to be perceived as sitting at the upper end of non-premium brands. Given that I perceive everyone from Skoda to Hyundai as one of those these days, I don’t know if it manages this.

But the exterior is sleek while the interior is bold. The bonnet looks a bit odd, to me, when you look down it from inside. Instead of beefing up the wheel arches to add muscle, its prominent centre line is reminiscent of some curved-hood 1950s Americana.

Until recently, Vauxhall/Opel continued that central exterior feature line into the interior, but now the dashboard is broad and boldly accented horizontally, with two clear 10in displays – one instruments, one touchscreen – with soft-touch materials above but hard materials in the lower cabin.

The generously sized and firmly comfortable front seats are some of the best around, and the driving position is good. Ergonomically, this being a Stellantis product on a group platform, it’s mixed. Temperature controls are buttons, as they should be, but changing their distribution – notably disabling a centre vent that seems keen to blow air on somebody, anybody, and whose breeze can’t be stopped in isolation – is on the screen, as it shouldn’t be. The button to flit between two lift-off regeneration levels is too small, too, given how often I think one uses it. Wheel paddles would solve that.

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