Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The Vauxhall Astra VXR's cabin is a comfortable place to be. All the switchgear is instantly recognisable from other Vauxhall products, so you'll feel right at home if you've driven an Insignia or Corsa recently. The instrumentation is clear and legible, while most of the controls are intuitive and easily reached. There is a multitude of seat adjustments, while the steering wheel adjusts for both rise and reach.

As a result it's easy to find a suitable driving position, important in a car like this. The only real challenge is reaching for your seatbelt - it's placed far behind the seat, meaning you have to stretch to reach it. Rivals such as the Ford Focus ST or Volkswagen Scirocco have more neatly detailed and upmarket cabins but the Astra VXR's interior is presentable and feels durable.

Differentiating the interior from the standard GTC are a range of VXR details that include a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, sports seats, different floor mats, "performance" instrumentation and other minor trim changes. It's worth bearing in mind that rear visibility isn’t fantastic, so do go for the optional parking sensors if you can.

Vauxhall Astra VXR comfort is good, with the car offering a spacious cabin and supportive sports seats. There's plenty of room in the front for taller drivers, while two adults can fit in the back without issue. Vauxhall adds features such as a tactile sports steering wheel and alloy pedals with rubber grips that help you remain in control and further improves cabin comfort.

The coupe styling does mean limited head and leg room in the rear, but not to the extent that passengers will feel cramped. Wind noise is quite well contained and engine noise only intrudes when accelerating hard but there is a fair degree of road noise from the VXR's substantial tyres. The exhaust system can also boom when the engine is under load at low speeds, intruding into the cabin.

All Astra VXRs come with Vauxhall's "FlexRide" adaptive damping system as standard. Three modes are offered: Standard, Sport and VXR. Standard is for general driving while Sport stiffens the suspension to reduce roll. VXR mode changes the instrument lighting from white to red, throttle response is sharpened and the dampers and roll control system operate differently to deliver the highest possible degree of performance.

The ride quality is acceptable although on rough surfaces and potholed roads the Astra can get a little harsh and uncomfortable, particularly in VXR mode. Those driving across country regularly could quickly become tired as a result.