They really test everything before these cars go on sale.
The Vauxhall Astra facelift is front and centre with this latest set of spy shots from our intrepid photographers. By the looks of all the plasticky disguises at the front of the car, it's fair to say that's where all of the changes are likely to be focused.
Don’t expect any major changes, but at least the front will be redesigned with a more pronounced radiator grille and possibly a reshaped bumper. Nothing really interesting is happening at the back, except for the disguised rear lights, which are probably getting new graphics.
What’s under the bonnet is a much more exciting question, as Vauxhall/Opel, is now owned by French company PSA. The carmaker has previously said it would like to see more of its engines in Vauxhall products, so we won’t be surprised if a new PSA-sourced motor is under the bonnet of this prototype. Of course, PSA might decide to wait until the next-generation Astra arrives to install its own engines and replace the General Motors units, so nothing can be confirmed at the moment.
PSA currently has some of the most refined and efficient diesel engines on the market today, so it’s only natural that they will eventually be adopted by the British outfit. Looking at PSA’s engine portfolio, our bet is the Astra will get a 1.5-litre diesel with 128bhp, also shared with the Peugeot 308 and the new Ford Focus. Another possible candidate is the 1.2-litre turbocharged THP petrol number that comes with 108bhp and 128bhp outputs.
The Astra isn't looking too healthy on the sales sheets at the moment, languishing outside the top 10 in the UK figures so far this year while its arch-rivals the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus are right up there in the top four positions. It seems like this refreshed model can't get to the dealerships quickly enough...