This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Vauxhall Astra Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 2.5

1.4 is slow in 60bhp ‘Hi-Torq’ form, best with 82bhp or 16-valve whilst 1.6 E-Drive lacks urgency of 1.6 16-valve. 1.7 diesel is a dreary performer. 1.8 and 2.0 petrol units are spirited, whilst 150bhp GSi manages strong performance from its tuned 2.0 unit.

Most basic versions lack power steering making it very heavy to park – it also lacks feedback. Handling is uninspiring, but is safe and predictable. Ride quality is so-so and gets worse once the shock absorbers start wearing out.