The Astra sits on the generic GM Delta II platform, which is also used for the likes of the Chevrolet Cruze and Orlando, not to mention Vauxhall’s own Zafira and, in highly adapted form, the range-extender Ampera hybrid.

The platform comes with McPherson strut type front suspension and a simple torsion beam rear axle, while most of the Astra’s most able rivals from the VW Golf and Ford Focus to the Hyundai i30 and Kia C’eed all use fully independent multi-link rear ends.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
A range of decent engines are offered, including a powerful twin-turbocharged diesel unit

However unlike many that use this platform the Astra comes with a Watts linkage through which cornering forces are transmitted, allowing engineers more scope to tune the beam for ride comfort.

It should also be noted here that three-door GTC models get a so called HiPerStrut front suspension which is still a strut but with an extra knuckle to bring the steering axis closer to the centre of the driven wheels and mitigate torque steer. GTCs also get their own, firmer suspension tune.

Physically the car is big, in volume terms the largest car among its immediate set of rivals. But whatever this gains the car in terms of perceived stature and interior space, it loses in ease of parking and manoeuvrability: there’s no real right or wrong to it, just a choice to be made depending on your priorities.

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week

A less contentious distinguishing feature of the Astra is its styling which is attractive as a hatchback and estate and nothing less than gorgeous in three door ‘coupe’ guise.

Astras in the past have often struggled to provide a single identifying asset to provide grounds for a customer to choose one over any other car in the class, but the sleek, sculpted shape of the current generation does exactly that.

To our eyes, it makes the Golf and Focus look dull and is rivalled for sheer pulchritude only by the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week