There’s the entry-level GTC and the upper-spec GTC Sport, with these three-door hatchbacks aimed at giving buyers a more style-focused alternative to the run-of-the-mill five-door options on the market.
There are plenty of competitors for the Astra GTC variants to compete with – the Hyundai Veloster, Kia Pro_cee’d GT spring to mind in the three-door body styles, while there are a range of five-door warm hatches for around the same money.
The differences between the two are reasonable, though both have strong standard equipment lists. Included is a seven-inch colour media screen with satellite navigation and Smartphone app connectivity, front and rear parking sensors and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The GTC Sport adds items such as 19-inch wheels, leather trim, electric driver’s seat adjustment, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and a body kit.
Both the GTC and GTC Sport models come with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine with the choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The auto produces 125kW of power and 260Nm of torque, while the manual has more grunt, with 147kW of power and 280Nm of torque.
Fuel consumption for the manual is also better than the automatic – 6.9 litres per 100km versus 7.5 litres per 100km – though despite the extra power and torque, the manual is said to offer an identical 0-100km/h sprint time to the automatic, at a claimed 7.9 seconds.
The engine revs willingly and pulls hard from about 2500rpm onwards, with plenty of fun to be had towards the top of the rev range … so long as you remember to hit the Eco button on the dash if you want to get the most out of it – otherwise the throttle response can be dull. Eco is the mode you want to be in around town, as it activates the engine stop-start function, which isn’t available on the auto models.
The manual transmission might be a little clicky and flimsy for some people’s tastes, but the clutch action is well weighted and allows you to make the most of the grunt on offer.
The automatic, on the other hand, is a little sluggish with its gear changes, and you can feel the power and torque detriment when jumping between the two.
Published: Thursday, May 7, 2015