When we look back at Vauxhall's recent history we recall a series of cars that have slowly seeped into our popular psyche.  Vectra, Cavalier, Nova, Corsa and Astra have enjoyed prolonged mass appeal.  The pick of this bunch could well be the trusty old Astra.  Its thirty year tenure and 6 generations means everybody knows someone who's had an Astra.

The Astra was always hard to categorise.  It's certainly never been a small car but it isn't in the same category as Focus or a C4.  It naturally competes with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf as a medium to small size hatchback, and it could even challenge the premium end of the market BMW 1Series or Audi A3.  A good case could be made that a top of the range Astra offers better value than a lower range prestige brand.

This is due to the sheer quality of the new Vauxhall Astra.  Its contemporary design is one of the most eye-catching on the market.  It shares many of the Insignia's hallmark features, such as the eagle eye headlamps and the upper and lower grille layout.

Throughout its life, the interior of the Vauxhall Astra has always been constructed of reasonable quality fabrics.  The new edition is a step up again.  The cockpit is genuinely ergonomic, and the flashes of chrome trim add some jazz to the sturdy finish.

The handling is near perfect for a car of its type.  The suspension absorbs bumps nicely due to the Macpherson struts and the Watts linkage system.  The Vauxhall Astra is also blessed with Flexride technology.  These kinds of features are often the property of cars higher up the scale but the Astra utilises software and machinery that will adjust to your driving style and the road conditions.

The Vauxhall Astra is Vauxhall's best selling car and is a name that is set to go down in British motoring folklore.