Vauxhall Astra audio review: Upgrade to the Ultimate trim?

The Vauxhall Astra is a compact hatchback that’s now in its eight-generation and is available as a plug-in hybrid. While being a good all-rounder with its stylish and practical design, it is let down by its high asking price, which starts from an eye-watering £37,285.

In terms of its audio configuration, the Astra houses a six-speaker 100 Watt system in the GS and GSe trims, while the Ultimate trim that we have on review features an eight-speaker 205 Watt system instead.

Click here to read the full Vauxhall Astra review

Vauxhall Astra audio setup

To tinker with the vehicle’s audio settings, you’ll have to navigate to the appropriate menu on the 10″ infotainment system – here are our optimal settings:

  • Balance: All passengers
  • Balance & Fader: Centre
  • Treble: +3
  • Mid: +2
  • Bass: +1
  • Centre: +1
  • Subwoofer: +1

In order to connect to the vehicle’s system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported over a wired and wireless connection. Of course, Bluetooth is also an option with the lowest quality SBC codec supported – for the utmost sound quality, we’d always suggest plugging in your smartphone.

Moving onto media controls, they can be accessed through the 10″ display, via the volume and media controls found just below the screen and through physical buttons located on the steering wheel.

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Vauxhall Astra audio performance

For a demo of the Vauxhall Astra’s audio system head on over to our YouTube channel.

In terms of its audio configuration, the GS, GSe and Ultimate trims house a 25 Watt woofer within each of the front doors, a 25 Watt full-range speaker within the rear doors and tweeters within the A-pillars – this equates to six speakers with a power output of 100 Watts. The Ultimate trim, however, adds a 25 Watt centre speaker within the dashboard and a 2x 40 Watt subwoofer – classified as a single speaker rated at 80 Watts – in the boot, taking the tally up to eight with a total power output of 205 Watts.

The inclusion of that 80 Watt subwoofer certainly bolsters the vehicle’s low-end prowess. Indeed, songs that have a pronounced low-end rumble come to life; while, it’s not quite up there with more premium systems that offer an even better lower-end extension, it’s still a notable upgrade over the stock system that omits a subwoofer altogether.

As for the mid-bass reproduction, it’s punchy especially at the front of the cabin with the inclusion of those 25 Watt woofers. In Justin Bieber’s ‘Wait For A Minute’ the bass slams are pronounced and controlled, resulting in an exciting sound signature. We found that adding one notch to the ‘Bass’ EQ added some extra oomph but of course, that’s all subjective.

With an emphasis on the lows, one might expect a recessed mid-range reproduction and that is unsurprisingly the case with the Vauxhall Astra. Vocal tones are a tad pushed back. Thankfully, there’s a dedicated ‘Mid’ EQ, which is a rarity for a vehicle of its class – some of its competitors lob the mids and highs into the ‘Treble’ EQ, which means there’s limited adjustment one can do. With that in mind, we added two notches to the ‘Mid’ EQ to help bolster the frequency range and this certainly helped bring out Tems’ smooth vocals in ‘Essence’ by WizKid.

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To boost the system’s top-end extension, we also added three levels to the ‘Treble’ EQ. This helps to provide that toe-tapping feeling and a zingy sound, at least, at the front of the cabin. That’s because, at the rear, the automaker has omitted tweeters and instead has opted for 25 Watt full-range drivers, which results in a lacklustre performance across the high-frequency tones.

Vauxhall Astra Hybrid interior

Speaking of which, the overall soundstage reproduction is a bit disappointing. The system has a uni-directional sound due to its speaker configuration; even in the Ultimate trim, which features a centre speaker, the level of engagement and fulfilment of sound throughout the cabin is missing. The addition of extra drivers, especially at the rear of the cabin would have certainly helped strengthen the experience.

Nonetheless, there’s good instrument separation that can be heard at the front of the cabin, which helps keep the front passengers excited when listening to more challenging tracks or live recordings.

Finally, regarding cabin noise, the Astra provides good isolation at lower speeds, but does falter on the motorway as tyre noise and wind noise creeps in. Using a sound meter, we recorded 35-36 dBA at a standstill; driving at 20mph, 56-59 dBA; driving at 30-40mph, 61-64 dBA; and at 70mph, 74-77 dBA.

Vauxhall Astra Hybrid awards

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TotallyEV’s verdict on the Vauxhall Astra’s audio system

On the whole, the Astra’s upgraded audio system in the Ultimate trim will provide consumers with better low-end response thanks to the inclusion of a subwoofer, and with the addition of the centre speaker a bit more engagement at the front of the cabin. As such, the upgraded configuration receives TotallyEV’s Approved audio award.

Find the best Vauxhall Astra deals

With that said, the Vauxhall Astra’s audio systems can’t compete with some of the alternatives out there on the market. Audiophiles might want to look elsewhere or look into upgrading the system with an aftermarket solution.

What do you make of the Astra’s audio system? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Christopher Minasians
Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.
vauxhall-astra-audio-review-upgrade-to-the-ultimate-trimThe Vauxhall Astra houses a 6 or 8-speaker system depending on the trim level chosen. The latter system on review features a centre speaker and a subwoofer, which bolsters its sonic performance. As a result, it's a worthwhile upgrade over the stock system and receives TotallyEV's Approved audio award.


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