Tech line offers high spec and low costs

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Designed to appeal to the emissions-conscious company car driver or fleet manager, Vauxhall’s Techline approach has been gathering a growing army of fans - and it’s not that difficult to see why.

This week we’ll be giving our first impressions of the car - later on in the test you’ll find out if those initial thoughts turned out to be accurate.

The first few weeks of our extended test of the Astra CDTI 1.7 Techline GT have shown the car to be well-equipped, comfortable and extremely practical.

In terms of physical appearance, the latest-shaped Astra is a very good looking car.

Even in four-door guise, the sweeping roof-line gives a coupe-like profile and the sporty-looking grill consolidates that feel.

Certainly, it competes well in the looks department against others in the highly competitive hatchback market. Looks are subjective, of course, but in comparison to the rather conservative-looking VW Golf and Ford Focus, the Astra holds up very well.

Inside the cabin we were met with a nice surprise. Being familiar with the previous generation Astra (04-09), the verdict is that this new model has upped its game considerably. A new, smartly laid out dashboard is constructed from high quality materials that give the feeling of a product from perhaps a more prestige marque.

Seats are comfortable and functional, and give every indication early on that they will be comfortable over long distances, which we will soon put to the test more fully.

Although the dash is snazzy-looking, some of the controls are a little small and fiddly, and might not be to everyone’s liking. We will update later in the test with regards to how user-friendly these feel given time to get used to them.

Equipment levels are really generous in the Techline, indeed that is their reason for being. Coming with sat-nav, digital radio, USB, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity. I was a little surprised that rear parking sensors didn’t make the standard equipment list, as they would seem to fit in with the rest of the kit quite nicely.

You’ve also got old-type manually winding windows in the back of the car, which sits slightly at odds with the technologically advanced cockpit.

Initial fuel economy appears to be good, although we have found the claimed combined 65.7 mpg a little hard to achieve and have averaged around 61 mpg so far with a good combination of motorway and urban sensible driving.

Hopefully, with the eco driving guide aid included within the on-board computer offerings, we’ll be able to bring that more in line with Vauxhall’s hope during the test.

First thoughts on driver visibility are that it could be better. The rather thick pillars not doing a great deal to help you see around the car when turning and reversing.

Luggage space is good in the boot is good and should prove more than enough for all but the most extreme of weekly ‘big shops’.

Two full-sized suitcases fitted in almost perfectly, with only the merest lifting of the parcel shelf (and even then nowhere near enough to impede vision or cause any other type of issue.)

But all-in-all, the first impressions have been positive and we look forward to reporting back to you on how the Astra’s various attributes delight or disappoint as we take the review forward.