The all new Astra Sports Tourer

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The new Astra Sports Tourer promises to boost the appeal of the new Astra still further. Bolstering Vauxhall’s 12.6 per cent of the UK market share (latest SMMT figures), 12,465 Astras were registered in September 2010, and a total of 38,220 new 5-door Astra Hatches have found UK homes since the model launched in December 2009.

As a result, the Astra Hatch is now the best-selling car overall in the Lower-Medium sector (YTD 2010) and during September alone topped both LM retail and fleet charts, taking 15.74 and 19.70 per cent of sales respectively. Packed with clever features, the Astra Sports Tourer maintains the hatch’s wheelbase (2685mm), yet its superior packaging has allowed the maximum load length to be increased by 28mm to 1835mm, and its load volume by 30 litres to 500 litres* with the rear seats up.

As well as boasting a cargo area with flat wall linings to fully optimise available space, a new FlexFold feature (standard or optional depending on trim level) allows each section of the 60:40 split-fold rear seatbacks to be lowered at the press of a button housed in the walls of the cargo compartment. In addition, with the rear seat cushions folded up against the front seat-backs, the Sports Tourer has a completely flat load floor and a maximum load capacity of up to 1550 litres.**

Completing the functionality of the rear cargo area is a two-touch luggage compartment cover.

But improved interior practicality doesn’t stop there. Compared with the current Astra estate, the Sports Tourer has an additional 25 litres of storage space in the cabin, 50 per cent more than before. And like its hatch sibling, the Sports Tourer also benefits from the option of Vauxhall’s award winning Ergonomic Sports Seats, providing front occupants with best-in-class comfort.

The Astra Sports Tourer’s exterior design aims to raise the bar in the compact-estate market, bringing a touch of class and dynamism, without compromising the car’s high levels of practicality. Inside, occupants will benefit from the same embracing, premium cabin as in the new Astra hatch, with features like the wraparound wing front fascia and unique ambient lighting.

From launch, Astra Sports Tourer buyers will have a choice of seven frugal, yet lively engines, with an ultra-low emissions, Start/Stop-equipped ecoFLEX model available soon afterwards.

From the start of the Astra Sports Tourer’s development, Vauxhall’s target was to maintain current levels of ride and handling enjoyed by the five-door hatch. As a consequence, its wheelbase remains the same at 2685mm, as do its front and rear tracks (1544 and 1588mm respectively).

Also carried over is the hatch’s innovative compound crank/Watt’s link rear suspension, which combines exceptional body control and ride characteristics and is unique to Vauxhall/Opel. For the Sports Tourer, the compound crank’s settings have been revised, as have damper calibrations, to cater for the model’s higher load capabilities without compromising the hatch’s dynamics.

FlexRide, Vauxhall’s adaptive suspension system, is also available as an option on the Sports Tourer. The system continuously adapts to changes in driving style and cornering speed. In Standard mode, FlexRide offers the whole bandwidth of settings available and adjusts to suit the driver’s behaviour. In Tour mode, damper settings are relaxed to optimise ride quality, while in Sport mode, throttle and steering responses are sharpened, in addition to the adoption of stiffer damper settings.

For customers who tow, the Sports Tourer will be available with Vauxhall’s electronic Trailer Stability Assist system.

The  Astra Sports Tourer range starts with the 1.4 (100PS) ES model, which gains an extra 10PS of power over the equivalent 1.4 Astra Estate. It also adds: air conditioning, curtain airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESP), Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), an aux-in socket and Active Safety Front Head Restraints, all as standard.

Packed with clever features, the Astra Sports Tourer maintains the hatch’s wheelbase (2685mm), yet its superior packaging has allowed the maximum load length to be increased by 28mm to 1835mm, and its load volume by 30 litres to 500 litres (when fitted with the optional tyre inflation kit) with the rear seats up. The cargo area’s load height is just 630mm – a real boon when lifting heavy items over the rear bumper – and there is up to 73 litres of additional storage space beneath the cargo floor.

The Sports Tourer’s cargo area has flat wall-linings, with no wheel-arch intrusions or side shelves to hamper easy access. The tailgate and load-bay are also exactly the same width, making loading a straightforward and hassle-free process. All Sports Tourers benefit from chrome tie-down loops and full carpeting in the cargo area, as well as a 12v socket and pull-down grab handles on either side of the tailgate.

The Astra Sports Tourer also benefits from the following two optional items:

Luggage Compartment Liner – The cargo floor carpeting, the tailgate opening and the rear bumper can all be easily protected by a new floor mat that has been rubberised on one side.

The fold-out flap over the rear bumper is particularly useful in preventing scratches and accidental damage during loading and unloading

FlexOrganizer* – Another clever storage concept, the FlexOrganizer system separates and secures different cargo loads. It comprises flexible nets and foldaway dividers, mounted on two horizontal rails running along each side wall of the cargo deck, which can be fixed right across or along the side of the cargo compartment as required.