New 2019 Vauxhall Astra facelift on the way

Updates to the facelifted Vauxhall Astra include updated design and slightly tweaked engines, with potential for a warmed-up GSi variant

The Vauxhall Astra will get a range of cosmetic and engineering revisions before the end of the year, to keep it competitive with its fresher-faced rivals from Ford, Volkswagen and Kia. Our exclusive render shows the extent of the facelift, which is set to stretch to a series of design tweaks and a revised engine range.

Vauxhall’s facelifted Astra will be one of the last models from the British firm based on the underpinnings from its previous owner, GM. This revised model will act as a stop-gap for Vauxhall until the next-generation Astra, based on the PSA Group’s EMP2 platform, is revealed in 2022.

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Our exclusive image confirms that Vauxhall isn’t planning on beating its rivals with a radical design rethink. Revisions are limited to a mildly-tweaked front bumper, new headlamps and a fresh pair of side skirts. A minor update is also expected for the rear, with a fresh bumper and modified tail lights.

Despite Vauxhall’s recent acquisition by the PSA Group, the facelifted Astra will continue to use the existing GM-developed engine range, as developing the tooling and hardware to mount the PSA engines in the old GM platform would require too much investment.

This means the latest Astra will be available with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol, or a 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel engine; all of which will be turbocharged and all of which are likely to feature a minor bump in performance. Vauxhall could also produce a warmed-up GSi version, to join the brand’s existing Insignia and Corsa GSi models.

If Vauxhall does build an Astra GSi, it’s likely to feature a detuned version of the Insignia GSi’s turbocharged 257bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol. Vauxhall is also keen to stress that the flagship VXR model will return to the line-up at some point in the future, but not on this facelifted variant.

Is an electric Vauxhall Astra on the cards?

A pure-electric version of the current generation Astra has been developed for the Chinese market, where it will go on sale badged as the Buick Verano. It’s highly unlikely that Vauxhall will use the Verano-badged EV in Europe, although a pure-electric version of the next-generation model, based on PSA’s EMP architecture, is a distinct possibility.

The Astra will undergo a more dramatic overhaul when the eighth-generation model reaches the market in 2022, with it’s platform, engines, software and hardware, all switching from GM to PSA parts. The car will use a new mild-hybrid powertrain which is being developed by Vauxhall/Opel for the entire PSA family; including Peugeot, Citroen and DS. There’s also the possibility of plug-in hybrid alongside that fully-electric variant, using tech from the new Grandland X PHEV and DS 7 Crossback E-Tense.

Where will the next Astra be built?

Some uncertainty still remains over whether the new car’s production will persist at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire or move to an Opel facility in Germany. Currently, Ellesmere Port accounts for 75 per cent of the Astra’s global production. PSA is still debating whether it should leave the Astra’s production sites untouched or move Astra’s main production site to Ruesselsheim, Germany, allowing the Ellesmere Port facility to only produce cars for the UK and South Africa.

To date, there have been two rounds of job losses at Ellesmere Port. So far, around 650 employees have already taken voluntary redundancy as the site moved from two shifts to one earlier in the year.

A decision on the future of Ellesmere Port will be made next year, a couple of years before the next-generation models goes on sale. This current Astra facelift will buy Vauxhall enough time to organise the logistics of the new model’s production.

What does the facelifted Vauxhall Astra have to beat? This is our list of the top 10 hatchbacks currently on sale…