Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

With a 597-litre boot, shaped so it can swallow a washing machine, the Astra Sports Tourer lives up to its billing in the practicality stakes. A split-level floor, electric tailgate and in-car storage for the tonneau cover, when you need to fold the 40:20:40-split seats forward (increasing capacity to 1634 litres), are sure to earn it brownie points with families.

The estate’s wheelbase is up 57mm on the hatch’s, increasing rear leg room to generous levels, with 268mm going into the overall length to expand the boot volume. That’s down to 516-1553 litres in the case of the PHEV, which gets 81 litres less boot volume than the petrol. There is, however, a cubby for the charging cable back there.

The front cabin features broad and comfortable if flat seats and good primary ergonomics, but the touchscreen – and sorry to go on about this – is given rather too many functions that could have been made buttons (you can still swap the temperature via a real button). At least moving key things off the centre tunnel, with small Stellantis group buttons in their lieu, means there’s lots of oddments storage

The Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer hybrid is smooth and undemanding, if unmemorable, to drive. In its lightest petrol form the Astra hatch is respectably agile and sprightly; those are not adjectives you would necessarily level at the PHEV estate, which at 1717kg is 341kg heavier than the petrol estate, let alone its equivalent 1266kg hatch. It steers smoothly, and the drivetrain offers easy-going progress, but good braking modulation is difficult.

The official figures say this is a 7.7sec 0-62mph car, and full throttle from rest can trouble the front wheels. That’s almost as fast as the upcoming 222bhp GSe (7.5sec), but in mixed driving it doesn’t feel that urgent or responsive.

The additional mass has done the secondary ride no harm, though – the estate in this heaviest form absorbs lumps and bumps confidently and with ease.

As usual with electrified cars, a lot of numbers are involved in the justification of this car. But the key ones might be that the Sports Tourer costs £8000 more as a PHEV than as a petrol.

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