The previous seventh generation Astra had the virtue of being priced significantly under the levels of its direct competitors. Vauxhall's current owners have no interest in continuing that policy, so this MK8 model is pitched in the same £23,000-£35,000 price bracket as most of its direct rivals. Obviously, there'll be a slight premium on those figures if you want the alternative Sport Tourer estate version, rather than the standard five-door hatch. To start with, rather refreshingly for a Vauxhall, there are just three trim levels on offer - 'Design', 'GS Line' and 'Ultimate'.
With all of them, you can expect plenty of equipment for the money, with standard features like full-LED headlights, digital instrument dials, a head-up display and standard 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring for the centre dash screen. You'll now be able to specify your Astra with larger wheels - up to 18-inches in diameter - and even an optional 2-tone paint finish.
The front seats, developed in-house, are certified by the AGR (a German organisation who campaign for healthier backs) and claim to be exceedingly comfortable for long journeys. The driver is supported by state-of-the-art assistance systems ranging from the semi-automated 'Intelli-Drive' assistance system to the 'Intelli-Vision' 360-degree camera. And the brand expects the intelligent 'Intellilux' headlights to be frequently specified option. These use state-of-the-art LED pixel lights. There's also extended traffic sign recognition, rear cross-traffic alert and active lane positioning, which keeps the car in the middle of the driving lane.