Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • High quality plastics for the Astra’s cabin
  • Switchgear organised into zones for easier use
  • Multimedia touchscreen is pleasingly responsive

As with the way in which the exterior of the seventh-generation Vauxhall Astra breaks no new ground, it’s a similar story with the interior. That’s not necessarily a negative point – think Adam and Corsa interiors writ larger and you’ve got the idea. It’s all neat and well-conceived but just lacks much in the way of wow factor.

There’s a thoughtfulness to the design which sees controls and buttons zoned together depending upon their function: infotainment controls are located closely, with those affecting the air-con and heating below those. Finally, below them, by the gear lever, are buttons related to driving, such as the SRi’s ‘Sport’ button.

All Vauxhall Astras come with a touchscreen for the multimedia system – 7.0 inches as standard, upgradable to 8.0 inches along with digital dials lifted from the Insignia. You’ll spot the main screen surface extends beyond the functioning rectangle of the display itself, giving a much cleaner appearance than some rivals’ systems. More importantly, it’s very responsive and doesn’t require repeated prods with a fingertip to undertake a task.

Immediately in front of the driver is a busy, button-laden steering wheel; although each’s function is soon learned they’re not especially easy to toggle with your thumbs. Just behind the wheel is a pair of elegant new column stalks replacing the chunky cylindrical ones Vauxhall previously fitted.

Nestling in the instrument binnacle are neatly arranged dials which feature clear graphics but the primary pair for the speedo and rev counter are on the small side.

Is it comfortable?

Central to the Vauxhall Astra’s comfort is its more spacious cabin, which is particularly impressive given that this seventh-generation model is physically smaller than the car it replaces.

Four six-foot tall adults should have no problem getting themselves comfortable, although children might find the back seat a tad claustrophobic due to the rising window line. Similarly whoever’s relegated to the central rear seat may find it less agreeable thanks to its flat, unsculpted cushion.

Getting a decent driving position in the Astra’s not difficult either, particularly with the greater adjustment offered by the Elite version’s sports seats with extendable seat cushion. Plus, they’re heated – as is the steering wheel and outer rear seats – the perfect foil for cold, wintry mornings.

Ultimate-grade cars get ergonomically certified seats with a huge amount of adjustment, plus massage on the driver's side.

While the Astra’s suspension arrangement provides an impressive level of ride comfort most of the time, a series of undulations or poorly finished road surfaces can unsettle the Vauxhall somewhat, with the vibrations felt through the cabin. It’s not terribly unsettling, but it’s noticeable nonetheless.

External noise is well-suppressed in the cabin, with little whistling from the wind around the tops of the windscreen and virtually nothing audible from the door mirrors either. Engine noise is also kept in check – the firm's motors are quieter than many rivals’ powerplants.