Although it’s no longer available on the new van market, the Vauxhall Astra van still enjoys cult status for the ease, exuberance and effortlessness with which it performs.
Based on the Astra estate passenger car, the fifth-generation Astra van came on sale in 2006. Slightly larger than its predecessor, its 1.6 cubic metre load space can transport up to 650kg, while a maximum towing capacity of 1,400kg adds to its practicality. The tailgate opens low and wide to make loading and unloading easy, and the load floor is flat and plastic-lined to help keep it clean. A half-height bulkhead is standard, as are six tie-down points to keep cargo secure.
The attractive cab is pleasantly reminiscent of the Astra car's, with a clearly laid out dashboard and supportive front seats. The driver’s seat is height-adjustable and the steering column adjusts for reach and rake to help you find a comfortable driving position. Wide-angled door mirrors help visibility, and a radio CD player is standard to keep you entertained.
But it's on the road that the Vauxhall Astra van truly excels, thanks in no small part to its estate car base. It's a pleasure to drive, with neat handling and supple suspension that soaks up bumps and ensures a smooth ride. Meanwhile, a range of strong, punchy diesel and petrol engines delivers pacey acceleration and remarkable refinement. On country roads, the Astra van corners with competence; in town, its small size makes it simple to park, and at just 1.5m high, it’s well below the height limit for a standard multi-storey car park.
Fuel economy ranges between 50mpg and 58mpg, and service intervals are every 20,000 miles, so running costs are kept low. However, the engines don't meet Euro 6 emissions standards, which is something to bear in mind if you drive regularly into cities with clean air zones, such as central London.
Safety equipment includes driver and passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control and traction control. There’s also emergency brake assist, which increases power to the brakes in an emergency. Other standard kit includes electric windows, remote central deadlocking and power steering.
You'll find a range of used Vauxhall Astra vans at Essex used van dealers Vanwise. Just call our Harlow branch on 01279 216163 if you'd like to test drive one of them, or find out more about our van leasing and van finance options.