This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Vauxhall Astra Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The interior design is similar to the larger Insignia and even uses the same steering wheel, although it feels quite big in the Astra. It's certainly far more upmarket than the previous model and the quality has improved too, with soft touch materials on the dash. That said there are still some harder plastics around, for instance on the rear doors and it doesn't have the same classy feel as alternatives such as the Volkswagen Golf.

The instrument dials look stylish though with soft white lighting (which can be changed to red on SRi models via the Sport button) while the driving position is good with plenty of adjustment in both the seat and steering column. The centre console is a little button heavy, especially on models with satellite navigation fitted, but it doesn't take too long to become familiar with.

All round visibility is average for a hatchback with quite large windscreen pillars obscuring the view out at junctions - but they're no worse than any other car of this size. SRi models and above come with an electric parking brake, which frees up space on the centre console.

There's a high level of Vauxhall Astra hatchback comfort. Thanks to superb ride quality, the Astra is a great long distance car, even with four adults on board. There's also very little noise even at higher speeds, with wind noise impressively low. This makes it a very serene and cosseting car to travel in. All round passenger space is good, but it's a bit of a squeeze with three in the back as the roof is quite low where it meets the rear doors, making you feel somewhat hemmed in.

But leg room is reasonable for this size car and the seats offer good support. All models come with air conditioning while the top Elite has dual-zone climate control.