The forgotten hot hatch

The forgotten hot hatch

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Discussion

Integrator_Type_R

Original Poster:

13 posts

42 months

Thursday 12th September
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I've thought this for a while but in light of the recent Spotted: Focus ST article it has to be asked.

Whenever the hot hatch theme is centre stage, you get lots of mentions of a vast range of hot hatches, from the "all rounder" Golf GTI - in whatever incarnation mk5 onwards, "premium" Audi S3/RS3 & Merc AMG A45, "driver focused and interactive" RenaultSports, "laugh out loud hilarious" Ford STs, alternative curios Kia GT/Hyundai N.. heck even "flawed" Alfa Mito/Guilietta QVs, Mini Cooper S etc etc you get the picture.

BUT I've never really seen much mention at all of the Vauxhall Astra GTC VXR (2011/2012 - whenever). Cant say I've noticed any disparaging and scathing comments against or indeed any deeply enthusiastic endorsement of them. Any particular reason why its fallen into the internet hole of apathy?

Rapid85

28 posts

Thursday 12th September
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If this is the version I'm thinking of, I thought it was always written off as not being able to put it's power through the front wheels very well? Especially from a standing start.

CS Garth

2,009 posts

50 months

Thursday 12th September
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Vauxhall’s marketing budget may influence this. Cars of yesteryear are always remembered in the context of today’s marketing spend

The Vambo

3,749 posts

86 months

Thursday 12th September
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I have no idea if they are good or bad but the Astra VXR in blue with the aero pack is by far my favourite lookng hot hatch in the metal.


sam.rog

45 posts

23 months

Thursday 12th September
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The second gen astra vxr was well reviewed. Unfortunately because it has a vauxhall badge on it it’s dismissed as crap.

Leon R

319 posts

41 months

Thursday 12th September
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Rapid85 said:
If this is the version I'm thinking of, I thought it was always written off as not being able to put it's power through the front wheels very well? Especially from a standing start.
You're thinking of the one before, the 2012 one actually had a limited slip diff.

I have always like the Astra J VXR and I still rate it as a good looking hatch, it did make a very odd/unique noise under acceleration though.

bangerhoarder

34 posts

13 months

Thursday 12th September
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This model of Astra (J) VXR seems to have a much better write-up for handling - helped by an LSD - and seems like a very capable car. Looks great IMO too.

MDMA .

5,041 posts

46 months

Thursday 12th September
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sam.rog said:
The second gen astra vxr was well reviewed. Unfortunately because it has a vauxhall badge on it it’s dismissed as crap.
Agree. Would be better with an Opel badge on it.

Fonzey

804 posts

72 months

Thursday 12th September
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The original Astra VXR popped up on my YT feed the other day in its original Top Gear review alongside the Megane 225 and Golf GTI of that era.

I'd totally forgotten about them and they were one of the first hot hatches to take a leap in power (relatively) at 240bhp when the platuea standard before that was in the 200-220bhp range.

I think aesthetically they've aged pretty well, interiors were always very cheap in them. Closest we had was leasing a Corsa VXR for a couple of years, it was 'Ok' but the interior was really poor - the fancy looking recaro seats were horrible and sat you far too high, stitching on the gearknob was almost painful to touch and the infotainment stuff was horrible, requiring you to buy an app for about £40 for a naff satnav.

The Vambo

3,749 posts

86 months

Thursday 12th September
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Just did a bit of research, Autocar timed one around its dry handling circuit at the same lap time as a Mk2 Focus RS, praised its ride and handling and gave it 4 stars.

Not just another fast Vauxhall then. scratchchin


Xcore

453 posts

35 months

Thursday 12th September
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I always wondered after the mk2 focus st/Astra H vxr rivalry, why you see loads of later generation sts but never J vxrs. Better finance packages with the ford?

Rapid85

28 posts

Thursday 12th September
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Leon R said:
You're thinking of the one before, the 2012 one actually had a limited slip diff.

I have always like the Astra J VXR and I still rate it as a good looking hatch, it did make a very odd/unique noise under acceleration though.
Yes I think you're right, my bad.

JLC25

559 posts

67 months

Thursday 12th September
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It means they are terrific value however.

snoopy25

940 posts

65 months

Thursday 12th September
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The Vambo said:
I have no idea if they are good or bad but the Astra VXR in blue with the aero pack is by far my favourite lookng hot hatch in the metal.

Isnt this shape Astra VXR the one where the gearbox is made of chocolate?

The Vambo

3,749 posts

86 months

Thursday 12th September
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snoopy25 said:
The Vambo said:
I have no idea if they are good or bad but the Astra VXR in blue with the aero pack is by far my favourite lookng hot hatch in the metal.

Isnt this shape Astra VXR the one where the gearbox is made of chocolate?
No, as this thread has recently taught me.

Deep Thought

23,719 posts

142 months

Thursday 12th September
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JLC25 said:
It means they are terrific value however.
Are they that much cheaper than, say, a Focus ST?

Mastodon2

12,869 posts

110 months

Thursday 12th September
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Many moons ago a lad in an one of those metallic blue Asts GSI things drove into my stationary Civic Type R and knackered the bumper. He was desperate to pay for the repairs to my car in cash and not get his insurer involved. A colleague knew the guy and was friends with him on Facebook - a quick look at his profile revealed the car had a gen 1 Astra VXR engine, which I suspect his insurer didn't know about.

When the day came to pay for the new bumper and paintwork, he turned up with £300 in cash, very apologetically, because he didn't realise he couldn't get £900 out of a cash point. He then jumped in his car to go to the bank, nailing it up the road as he went - it did look like quite a quick car. Those engines were 240bhp and could easily be remapped for another chunk.

A friend of mine had a blue Astra VXR when the first generation was new. I always thought the handling was unfairly maligned. I had a Leon Cupra R making about 290bhp at the time and it did muller the Astra in a straight line, but on a bumpy road with some corners the Astra didn't struggle.

The interior was crap though on the old ones thiugh, when said friend chopped his VXR in for the second version I was impressed, Vauxhall had taken a huge leap with the quality of the interiors. I never liked the second one as much, it didn't feel nearly as raw and was more "fast and competent" than "fast and fun". I remember it being very quiet inside, I prefer at least some noise for a little drama. By the time that car came along I'd gotten rid of my hot hatches and picked up a GSX-R600, which again predictably left the Astra looking a little wanting for speed or excitement.

Still, I think the Astra VXRs are good cars. I rarely see the old ones on the road now, many were probably crashed through careless driving, but that would just be a wild assumption based on the ownership demographic.

rodericb

1,725 posts

71 months

Thursday 12th September
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The Vambo said:
I have no idea if they are good or bad but the Astra VXR in blue with the aero pack is by far my favourite lookng hot hatch in the metal.

They are a very nice looking car. Nicely solid looking and with a minimum of rice burner fakevent.

smithyithy

4,466 posts

63 months

Thursday 12th September
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Mastodon2 said:
I rarely see the old ones on the road now, many were probably crashed through careless driving, but that would just be a wild assumption based on the ownership demographic.
Ditto, I saw a blue Gen 1 while walking the dog the other day and it made me realise how few you see nowadays, they seemed quite common when they were a few years old..

Compared to the alternatives at least - Focus STs seem relatively common still, and EP3 Type Rs are bloody everywhere currently..

geeks

4,521 posts

84 months

Thursday 12th September
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The Vambo said:
I have no idea if they are good or bad but the Astra VXR in blue with the aero pack is by far my favourite lookng hot hatch in the metal.

We had one of these in the fleet at home for a while in White with the Black roof. Fantastic car, plenty of go, handling was excellent and it loved some lift off oversteer. Servicing costs and £1k to renew the front brakes meant it had to go (along with a lack of space) but thoroughly enjoyed it. Would have another if we had room though!