Vauxhall Astravan (2006 – 2013) Review

Vauxhall Astravan (2006 – 2013) At A Glance


+Available with Vauxhall's strong 1.7 CDTi diesel with, good to drive with neat handling.

-Interior can suffer with hard daily use.

Taking a popular hatchback and creating a van version is not a new idea. This Astravan - based on the estate version of the Astra - is in fact the fifth generation model. The first Astravan appeared in 1981 and replaced the Chevette-based Chevanne.

This Astravan uses the same basic design as the Astra Estate, but the rear axle has been redesigned to allow the fuel tank to be moved. This allows for extra load space and a completely flat floor without harming the handling, while the rear torsion beam has been adapted to cater for carrying heavier loads.

Compared to the model it replaced, this Astravan has a longer wheelbase than the existing model, giving improvements to handling and ride, plus extra interior space both in the cabin and the load bay. The tailgate opens low and wide and loads of up to 24mm higher can be stowed in the back, while the overall payload has been increased to 650kg.

It comes with some strong engines. The top model uses the 1.9-litre CDTi with 150PS - badged the Astravan Sportive SE. An uprated 110PS version of the previous Astravan's 100PS 1.7-litre CDTi unit is also available, along with a 90PS version of the 1.3CDTi engine. All three diesel units are Euro 4 compliant, as is the one petrol addition to the range - a 90PS 1.4-litre engine.

The Astravan can also tow a braked trailer of up to 1400kg, but the rear hatch is the only access to the load space.
This doesn’t stop the Astravan appealing to a broad cross-section of users, many of them praising the Vauxhall for its fun, fine driver compared to more versatile competitors. It’s what’s kept the Astravan in the sales charts and hearts of van buyers in the UK.


Used Buying Guide - Vauxhall Astravan

The Vauxhall Astravan filled a niche in the commercial marketplace that’s been unoccupied since its demise in 2013. However, there are still lots of good examples on the market. We tell you what to look out for. 

Read the buying guide here >>

Vauxhall Astravan (2)

Ask Honest John

What cheap, used van can I get to carry gardening tools?

"I'm 6-foot tall and want to haul around scuba diving equipment and gardening tools. I need a car or van to do 10,000 - 15,000 miles per year, for around £1000 - £3500. What do you suggest?"
I'd recommend a Ford Transit Connect. Lots on the used market, which means you can afford to be quite picky when it comes to age and condition. It's also available as a short or long wheelbase, with a low or high roof. The sliding door on the passenger side should make it easy to get your diving equipment in and out. A removable mesh bulkhead is also standard which means you don't have to worry about equipment sliding forward into the passenger area if you have to make an emergency stop. For our full review and used buying guide, see: A Vauxhall Astravan might also suit your needs, with lots of load space and a braked towing capacity of 1.4 tonnes. It doesn't get the side sliding door, but it is one of the best vans to drive, owing to the fact it's basically an Astra estate with the rear seats removed:
Answered by Dan Powell

What are the best cheap 4x4 pick-ups?

"I need to spend some time over a few months clearing a house on occasional visits. Skip hire is ridiculously expensive so I am thinking of buying an oldish high mileage pickup or 4x4 for a couple of grand and then selling it again after I have finished. Do you have any recommendations?is kind of thing? Reliability will be important."
Pick-up choices will be rather limited for £1500 to £2000. Most will have sky high mileage and be rather tatty. You might be better buying a compact panel van, something like the Ford Transit Connect, Citroen Berlingo or Vauxhall Astravan might suit your needs. For our list of top 10 small vans for under £5000, see:
Answered by Dan Powell

Are there any major issues with the Audi A4 Avant 2.0?

"I'm looking for a TDI to replace my 2006 Vauxhall Astravan. I like the look of the Audi A4 estate but have heard about some issues with earlier PD engines. Are there any serious issues with the 2.0 CR engine that's in the 2005/6/7 Audi? My budget is less than £5000 and I'm not worried about high mileage, but DMF and DPF problems worry me as they can be costly."
Read all about them under Good & Bad in the relevant entries in The biggest problem in the 2.0 TDI is the oil pump drive.
Answered by Honest John
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