New 2022 Vauxhall Astra revealed – full details and possible GSe hot hatch

Vauxhall’s first PSA-developed Astra arrives with a distinctive look and plug-in hybrid powertrains

It could be argued that the Vauxhall Astra is as central to the UK’s motoring landscape as any new BMW 3-series or Ford Fiesta, so the reveal of a new version, with or without a performance version, is always a big deal. This all-new model is the first Astra to make full use of Vauxhall’s PSA/Stellantis connection, using a platform and powertrains from Peugeot, but wrapping them in a distinctive new skin. This is the same strategy that’s been applied to the Corsa, and if the sales figures are anything to go by, it’s one that’s working. 

The Astra’s fundamentals are different from the Corsa’s, though, being based on the EMP2 platform that’s found under larger Peugeot models like the 308 and 508. As such, the model will only launch with internal combustion engine options, albeit two of them plug-in hybrid in nature. The base engine choice will be made up from a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel, each fitted with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto. Plug-in hybrid models then form the upper levels of the new Astra range with 178bhp and 222bhp variants combining a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, fitted as standard with the auto ‘box.

The chassis layout is fundamentally similar to that used in previous Astras – think MacPherson strut front and a torsion bar rear, but the car’s dimensions are slightly different thanks to its new platform. It’s only slightly longer (+4mm), but with a more generous wheelbase (+13mm) and wider stance. These new proportions are made good use of, too. Vauxhall’s new design language is employed with its ‘Vizor’ front end graphic and sharp new surfacing. And quite an impact it makes.

Yet it’s the cabin that has made the biggest leap forward, combining a sweeping new digital interface with clever use of materials. All models will package a dual-screen setup, but higher trim levels bring the two displays together underneath a single glass pane that angles its way around the driver. While we do have reservations about the dominance of this digital interface, its integration is a world away from the bland, if still functional, interiors of Vauxhalls past. It still comes with essential hard keys underneath, including the volume knob, air conditioning controls and hazard light switch  – are you listening, VW?

But the question we’re asking is whether Vauxhall, with its new-found momentum, will head back into the hot hatchback ring, the answer of which is a loose ‘we’ll see’. Vauxhall’s recent announcement of going all electric beyond 2028, plus its intention to introduce a new GSe electrified performance sub-brand, could yield a future Astra wearing that moniker, yet its form is still very much up for interpretation. 

This Astra GSe project will probably be led by Peugeot’s PSE sub-brand, and without a firm commitment to a high performance plug-in 308 PSE, the reality of a GSe Astra still hangs in the balance. While this might seem unfortunate, the understandably limited application of this package outside of the European market means it will remain a very big ‘if’ until Vauxhall and indeed Peugeot say otherwise.


2021 Peugeot 308 priced from £24,000
2021 Peugeot 308
Peugeot 308

2021 Peugeot 308 priced from £24,000

Peugeot’s 308 hatchback has been given an extreme makeover, and first cars hit the road this December
29 Jun 2021
Vauxhall Insignia GSi 2021 review – throwback family fun
Vauxhall Insignia GSi – low tracking
Vauxhall Insignia

Vauxhall Insignia GSi 2021 review – throwback family fun

Before Vauxhall benefits from Peugeot’s latest know-how, the Insignia soldiers to remind us of a time we have probably all forgotten
25 Mar 2021
Mini range updated for 2021 – supermini sharpens up to rival A1 and new 500e
Mini Cooper S 2021 - front quarter

Mini range updated for 2021 – supermini sharpens up to rival A1 and new 500e

The Mini hatch range, including the Cooper S and Mini Electric all gain new style and tech features
26 Jan 2021

Most Popular

Aston Martin V12 Vantage officially coming in 2022
V12 Vantage teaser
Aston Martin Vantage

Aston Martin V12 Vantage officially coming in 2022

Aston Martin’s dreamy small body/big engine combo is back, a new V12 Vantage is coming next year
1 Dec 2021
Used car deals of the week
Used car deals main
used cars

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
2 Dec 2021
Audi RS3 2021 review - Audi Sport set to take on AMG’s A45S
Audi RS3 review 2021
Audi RS3

Audi RS3 2021 review - Audi Sport set to take on AMG’s A45S

Audi’s new RS3 hyper hatch finally gets the technology to take on AMG’s range-topper
22 Nov 2021