Vauxhall Astra: Really that clever?

Is the Astra's clever boot really that clever?

Vauxhall has seen fit to install a ‘FlexFloor' arrangement in the luggage compartment of the Astra. According to the firm if you utilise the split-folded rear seat backrest, the boot capacity can range from 351 to 1,216 litres.

There are also depth options to consider thanks to the three-position boot floor. In the lowest position you get maximum height and volume in the load area. In the centre position the floor sits flush with the folded rear seats, meaning optimised flat loading capacity. When fully raised it is level with the boot sill, meaning loading heavier objects should be easier.

Now, all of this is very well and I suppose you could say it's moving the game on in terms of flexibility, but picture the scene: you have a towing kit fitted which lives under the boot floor when it's level with the boot sill. You've been to the shops and have four bags which you'd like to put into the boot. Vauxhall has helpfully fitted some hanging hooks in the boot that would be perfect for this exact thing, but when you hang your bags up there's not enough depth to let them hang above the raised floor. This means the bags are on the boot floor and your eggs and milk go flying around the boot space. I'm reporting this through bitter experience - although luckily there wasn't much broken by the time I'd got home.

You can of course put the boot down to its lowest position, but that means you have to place the tow-bar assembly on top so you don't have a flat floor.

Neither solution is particularly ideal, but I've plumped for the latter in the hope that I won't need a flat floor any time soon.

Current mileage: 1,799

Average mpg: 41.4

You lift up the floor via the fabric handle.

...and you can have the floor lower, but the tow kit's in the way.

Space is quite often at a premium with my cars