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Vauxhall Astra GTE (1983 - 1984)

Last updated 12 November 2013

 
4
Brilliant handling, nice gearbox, fast acceleration - a proper hot hatch
Too few are left, rust, heavy steering, low seating position

Introduction

General Motors was a late entrant to the hot hatch market waiting until 1983 - but when it did turn up to the party, it did so with an amazingly effective weapon. The original Cavalier SRi-powered 115bhp car was just about perfect in every way - and easily a match for the all-conquering Golf GTI.

Even in cooking form, the Astra was a great handling car, but when fitted with wide, low-profile tyres, lowered suspension and gifted the excellent 1.8-litre 'Family Two' engine, it was transformed into a flying machine. The GTE arrived in 1983, and within a few months received a close-ratio gearbox – to answer the only criticism of the launch cars, their too-high gearing. Yet, not long after, the Mk1 GTE made way for the aerodynamic Mk2 version. Not many survive now, and rust claimed many.

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