The Vauxhall Astra is a huge seller in the UK and in Europe when badged as an Opel. Alongside the Corsa it is the lifeblood of Vauxhall and so when it comes to producing an all-new model the importance of getting it right could not be more crucial. The 2015 Vauxhall Astra is up against some tough competition from Ford and VW who have very much lead the class over the past decade. Could that all change with this generation Astra?
Clearly the biggest change to the casual observer is visual. Whilst still recognisably an Astra, this car has learned that the power of the understatement can bring about a more mature and premium finish. Tasteful levels of chrome detail its nose, a more intricate headlight design adds character, sculpted bodywork that invites you to take a closer look. The floating C-pillar is my only real dislike and overall this new car looks very grownup.
This theme continues on the inside with a flowing dashboard design and gloss finishes. The cabin feels spacious and is undoubtably more premium in design over its predecessor. A 7 inch touchscreen display gives you access to navigation as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 370 litre boot outdoes its key rival, the Ford Focus.
The model we sampled was equipped with a 1.6 litre CDTi diesel engine and on the move it is rather pleasing. It produces plenty of get up and go when required whilst not adding much noise to a generally quiet driving experience. Speaking of the experience, behind the wheel on more dynamic tarmac this 2015 Vauxhall Astra displays good lateral control and whilst the steering could produce more feedback, it is accurate.
We will have to spend more time with this new Astra before stamping our final verdict on it, but from our interactions so far, the forecast looks sunny.