With 129bhp and 170lb ft – the same as its Peugeot 308 sibling – it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the 0-62mph times are also an exact match. True, 9.7sec isn’t scintillating in this day and age but it’s a relatively punchy little lump and, with a healthy dose of torque available at 1500rpm, it never struggles to pull in a high gear.

There are two gearbox options available and neither is any more or less suited to the 1.2. The upshifts of the eight-speed auto aren’t quick on a hard acceleration run, but it rarely gets flustered, while the manual has a slightly long throw but is accurate enough. Swings and roundabouts on both, then: basically, if you do loads of miles in heavy traffic, get the auto, and if not, save yourself £1500 and opt for the six-speeder.

Dynamically, the steering is accurate and the handling benign, but some rivals have a bit more joie de vivre about them. There is a more powerful PHEV coming so maybe that will help the Astra.

Overall body control is impressive and the Astra feels well tied down over longer undulations. Vauxhall’s Stellantis partner Opel talks of this car being autobahn ready, which makes sense given the high-speed security it exhibits, but I suspect the firms have sacrificed ride comfort at the altar of the autobahn. The secondary ride is too fiddly and chatters away beneath you, picking out lots of undulations and generally jostling the driver around too much.


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