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£21,310 when new
What’s this, then? Another worthy-but-dull Vauxhall? It’s the new Astra. Yes, it’s worthier than ever, but not so dull. It looks more swish and trim than it ever did. It feels a whole lot livelier, because it’s much lighter than before. And it has smoother, more powerful and economical new engines. Not to mention an extraordinary comms package on most models that includes a fast wifi hotspot with all the data you can eat. Can we take those things one-by-one? Looks first. It’s a much lighter car, as we’ll see, and there’s a crispness to the sheetmetal that emphasises the point. That blacked-out gap between the kicked-up rear pillar and the ‘floating’ roof above it has the effect of making the Astra look lower when you view it from alongside, and wider from astern.