This overlooked hot hatch from the 2010s is now firmly in bargain territory, but would you have one over some of the more obvious options?
The early 2010s was a great time for hot hatches. This was the time of the Mk7 VW Golf GTI, the tail-wagging Renault Sport Megane 265 and the boisterous Ford Focus ST. And another that you might well have forgotten about – the Vauxhall Astra VXR.
Somewhat overlooked in its day and cruelly denied a successor (Opel has as good as abandoned the OPC brand, so Vauxhall has done the same with VXR), it’s no surprise this car has a habit of slipping from people’s memories. When the most recent Astra VXR snuck its way back into my brain following a Twitter conversation from some colleagues the other day, I figured we should do our bit to give the car a little more recognition, doing so the only way we know how. Scouring the classifieds.
With the oldest examples now knocking on the door of 10 years old, depreciation has had a good chance to work its magic on these cars. Our pick is one of the cheapest out there at £7,799, and although the mileage is higher than most at 104,100, this isn’t an excessive figure either.
Vauxhall/Opel dubbing this three-door hatchback a ‘’Grand Touring Coupe’ always used to grate, but it is better looking than a lot of its contemporaries, especially in Arden Blue as seen here. The 19-inch wheels are nicely snazzy too, helped somewhat by Bugatti designing something amusingly similar for the Chiron a few years later.
Up front is a 2.0-litre inline-four engine producing 276bhp and 295lb ft of torque, making for a 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds. That’s a lot of thrust for the front wheels to cope with, but the Astra has a couple of tricks up its sleeve to keep things in check. The first of these is a mechanical limited-slip differential, and the second is something called ‘HiPerStrut’.
Much like Ford’s RevoKnuckle setup, it’s a variation of the typical MacPherson strut design that helps reduce torque steer. Given that this car’s predecessor had a reputation for giving the driver’s arms a workout, its inclusion is certainly a good thing.
We’ll forgive the flagrant capital letter abuse on the Autotrader advert and inclusion of sentences like “Catches The Attention Of Anyone Who Sets Eyes On The Car And Roars Enough To Be Heard If Not Seen,” as there’s plenty of helpful detail. We’re taken through the spec and even given the mileages for each of the car’s services, and where the work was done.
It’s well equipped, looks to be tidy inside and out, and wears four matching Pirelli P Zero tyres that seem to have a decent amount of life left in them. The aftermarket reverse camera looks a tad janky, but it might prove itself useful enough for you not to care.