Vauxhall Astra VXR: Spotted

With the glut of hot hatches having been launched in the past half a dozen years or so, it's easy to forget about Vauxhall's offering. Perhaps you automatically choose to forget about Vauxhall's offering, regardless of the sector. But it's a good hot hatch, one that was deserving of attention as a new car and arguably even more so as a used purchase.

No, really. Our road test from a few years back concluded with "the Astra VXR is still a great hot hatch that entertains by teaming its overwhelming punch with a really useful amount of front-end grip." So there. And all the technology we've come to expect in a contemporary hot hatch is here in the Vauxhall, with a front suspension system - the HiperStrut - that performs a very similar job to the Perfohub in a Renaultsport Megane, a limited-slip diff (from Drexler) and adaptive dampers. Despite being launched in 2012, its 280hp and 295lb ft are still competitive today, especially when your bear in mind that a new Civic Type R makes the same amount of torque.

Alright, we'll concede that in five years interiors have come a fair way - and the Vauxhall's wasn't great to start with. Have a look at a new Golf GTI and this for proof of that. And perhaps the VXR wasn't the most exciting hot hatch dynamically, the handling rather safer than the boisterous looks would lead you to believe.

However, there's a lot still to recommend the VXR, and particularly with early cars now worth less than half their new price. This one seems especially good; it's being sold privately at £12,500 with just 30,000 miles recorded since 2012. Painted in the trademark Arden Blue and with the near-essential Aero Pack - look how bland it is without! - it's a fine example of a forgotten hot hatch. And you'll get the regular numberplate back on it.

Less smart
Less smart
Perhaps the biggest problem facing the Astra VXR, beyond the inevitable Vauxhall jibes, is the sheer wealth of excellent rivals it faces. Good examples of both the previous Renaultsport Megane and Focus ST are available for this money, but you'll have to make do with a Mk6 Golf GTI if you require something more mature. Whatever you want from a hot hatch, there's a car out there for you at the moment. If any PHers have taken the plunge on a VXR, now's the time to shout about it...

If the Astra does fit your criteria, it does look tremendous value at the moment. Fast, stylish, rare and capable, it could be a canny buy for a hot hatch buyer willing to think a bit differently.

1,998cc 4-cyl, turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 280@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 295@2,400-4,500rpm
MPG: 34.9 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 189g/km
First registered: 2012
Recorded mileage: 29,890
Price new: £27,010
Yours for: £12,500

See the original advert here.




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Comments (122) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Mike1990 05 Sep 2017

    Still IMO one of the nicest looking Hot Hatches out there.

    Be interesting to compare it against the newer crop. It's one of the reason's i went with a Corsa VXR Nurburgring, it might not be as Dynamically Polished as a 197/200 Cup but its just as capable, rare and different take on the more 'Focused' Hot Hatches out there.

    Edited by Mike1990 on Tuesday 5th September 14:05

  • QuattroDave 05 Sep 2017

    Having ragged many of these around Thruxton thanks to the VXR days they're good fun to drive on a track. Though I remember the headlight cover being plastic not glass as it was bendy. Helpful in a 1mph ding but hardly screaming quality!

  • Killboy 05 Sep 2017

    Yay, I couldn't believe the value in one in December, so I picked on up. 18k miles, Aero pack 2013 model for 14k.

    I love it. And weirdly, like the interior. Its a massive leap forward from the previous ones, and the seats are awesome (less so if one of the tilt cables breaks).

    Just be weary things like the brakes are expensive, and those 20s with the Aero pack obviously come at a price.

  • 700BHP 05 Sep 2017

    Still a looker. No doubt 350bhp is easily attainable too.

  • Barchettaman 05 Sep 2017

    Aren't these more of an Insignia coupé under the Astra skin, or am I imagining that?

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