This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Vauxhall Astra VXR (12-15) review.

Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

Thanks to a decent driving position and Recaro sports seats, the VXR feels racy from behind the wheel plus there’s good reach adjustment in the steering column. Unfortunately the seats are set too high which means you need to stretch down to reach the oversized gear lever. Worse is the button layout on the central console which is somewhat haphazard with the air con controls placed low down making them tricky to see.

On the plus side build quality is solid and there are some nice touches like the carbon fibre-effect inserts. But overall it’s too similar to the standard Astra and lacks a feelgood factor to lift it out of the ordinary.

The Astra VXR has been designed to be sporty – good for fast corners but bad news for comfort. The ride is incredibly firm and while it’s not too much of an issue on motorways and the like, in town every bump and pothole sends shakes through the cabin. It means the VXR doesn’t come across as particularly sophisticated, especially when alternatives like the Focus ST manage to blend family car comfort together with hot hatch sportiness.

On the plus side, the front seats offer plenty of side support although there’s no lumbar adjustment which is disappointing. The interior is roomy enough to carry four adults without complaint although rear knee room is limited as the VXR is only available in three-door Sport Hatch guise.