Tech Car of the Year — under £25,000: Vauxhall Astra
With two strong category wins, backed by exceptional performances in all areas of car technology, the Vauxhall Astra is a deserved winner.
The sheer amount of technology you get for your money is exceptional, and elevates the Astra from being a talented family hatchback to a bona fide car tech champion.
At the heart of the Astra’s tech appeal is its connectivity. Every model offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard – features you’d have to pay for in so many of its rivals. And it’s hard not to talk about the Astra without mentioning Vauxhall OnStar.
OnStar may have been around for a few years across the pond, but it’s new technology in the UK – and that it’s available for such a small price is simply incredible. Standard on SRi and Elite models, and £395 elsewhere, OnStar boasts some remarkable features, including a vehicle-tracking system and an e-Call system that can contact the emergency services in the event of a serious crash. It can even determine the extent of the damage.
The Astra’s systems are easy to operate, with logical shortcut buttons and a well-positioned touchscreen that boasts a matte finish, so reflections are kept to a minimum. Also kept to a minimum was lag. We found the Astra to be very responsive whether it was operating through Android Auto, Apple CarPlay or its own operating system.
We were also seriously impressed by the Astra’s audio system, especially given its price. It has superb clarity, with minimal distortion.
Its navigation system is first-rate, too, and you can call on the services of OnStar to input your destination over the phone.
Quite simply, you can’t get more tech in a car for less than £25,000. And even if you dig deep into the options list, you’ll find those must-have extras are well priced too. The new Vauxhall Astra is our affordable tech hero.