The Vauxhall Astra is a car you want to like because every time you see one, you realise what an attractive car it is.

And every time you sit in the car you are reminded that it offers both the space and the perceived quality of a car from the class above.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
A fully independent rear suspension system and more involving steering might release some of the Astra's potential

But cars are for driving and those that put their best foot forward while parked in a showroom are missing this point to some considerable extent.

While we applaud its space, styling and quality, an ability to transport its occupants from one place to the next in comfort while entertaining the driver will always count for more to us.

And here the Astra lags as far behind the best as has its many previous generations. It doesn’t matter whether you judge its all round performance, economy, ride or handling, nowhere does it mount a convincing challenge for class leadership.

So a bridesmaid it stays. And until Vauxhall bites the bullet and accepts what Ford and VW had known for many years, namely that such cars simply have to have the substance to back up their style, a bridesmaid it is likely to remain for a while yet.

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