Production of the Astravan moved back to the UK in 2006 with the launch of the new models. The predecessors were built in Poland. The van version of Astra is based on the same platform as the estate car, but with a bespoke bodyshell; there is no three-door version of the estate.
Engine choice is excellent with three common rail diesels - 1.3-, 1.7- and 1.9-litre - and a 90hp 1.4-litre petrol on offer. The latter can also be had as a Dualfuel lpg conversion. The engine of choice is the 90hp 1.3 (199Nm), but for those after more spirited performance the 1.7 produces 100hp (240Nm) and the 1.9 offers 120hp (279Nm) or can be had with 150hp. Service intervals are set at 20,000 miles.
The front wheels are driven via a manual 6-speed gearbox, but there is an auto option available on the 1.9CTDi. Steering is variable electro-hydraulic and all Astravans come with ABS as standard.
The load area is accessed through a high opening tailgate and provides a maximum length, height and width of 1,780mm, 900mm and 1,380mm respectively. Width between the wheelarches is 1,103mm. The end result is a 1.6m3 of load space and a payload of 645kg or 650kg depending on model.
The cab is taken from the current Astra car and provides a comfortable working environment with a good driving position and supportive seats. Specification levels are high with remote central locking, electric windows, driver and passenger airbags, and a radio/CD player. Move up to Sportive trim and it adds electric door mirrors, air conditioning, 16in ‘Structured’ wheels (very good and practical fake alloy effect) and metallic paintwork.
Astravan is aimed at the performanceorientated driver and it does not disappoint. Check out the 1.3CTDi, it’s a very surprising little engine.