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In-depth reviews

Vauxhall Astra review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

The latest Astra is slightly smaller on the outside, but bigger on the inside with more space for a family than many rivals

When it comes to space for all the family, the Astra does a good job of offering decent, if not spectacular, accommodation for five people. It’s not quite as generous in the back as a Skoda Octavia, but it’ll keep passengers happier than those in a Ford Focus. The boot is a decent size and shape, too, although the Astra Sports Tourer estate offers more space for around £1,500 extra. The Astra’s centre stack doesn’t have a big lidded tray like in a Golf, although a pair of cup-holders, decent door bins and two USB charging points in the rear, boost usability.

Size

The Astra is more or less the same size as most of its major rivals – differences between it and the Ford Focus or SEAT Leon are so small as to be insignificant. It’s a little longer than the latter (4,370mm vs 4,282mm) but has a smaller boot by 10 litres.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

Although the Astra is smaller than its previous iteration, it offers more space for passengers. Set the driver’s seat for a six foot-tall driver and a six foot passenger will be able to get into the back easily (the doors open nice and wide in the back, which is handy for fitting child seats and children), while knee and headroom are both impressive. It does feel noticeably darker and less airy in the rear than in cars like the Ford Focus, however.

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There’s plenty of adjustment for the driver’s seat and the steering wheel, while forward visibility is good. Over the shoulder visibility is slightly compromised by the rising waistline of the car and hefty rear pillars.

Boot 

Open the Astra’s boot and you’re presented with a nice square shape and a ribbed floor – very handy to stop items rolling around. There’s a bit of a lip to heave things over, but it’s no worse than in most hatchback rivals.

Thanks to its simplified rear suspension layout, the Astra offers a bigger boot than its predecessor, with a 370-litre capacity. However, it still trails the most spacious hatchbacks, such as the Honda Civic and Peugeot 308, for luggage space.

Fold the seats down – which is easy enough to do – and there’s a step between the boot floor and the seat backs. That can be eradicated if you choose to go for a space-saver spare wheel, in which case the boot floor rises to the same level as the backrests when the seats are folded. The downside is a slight reduction in boot capacity.

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