From £12,240
The panoramic roof offers a strange but captivating driving experience, and is well worth the extra £850. Otherwise it's no different from a regular Sport Hatch.

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Astra 2009-2015
The Astra is now in its sixth incarnation, but it can trace its linage back to 1963's Viva

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

23 December 2005

What’s new? Might not seem an important change, giving a car a glass roof, as it has become a bit of a fashion. However, the Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch GTC’s panoramic roof is entirely different to anything else on the market. Not only does it put a sheet of glass above your head, it also does away with the load-bearing rail above the windscreen. What’s it like? As a result of this £850 option, the Sport Hatch GTC seems more open than many an open car. Most modern convertibles, especially those with folding steel roofs, have high screens and sturdy top-rails so that when you look up with the top down, there’s a fat and often ugly steel and vinyl structure right in the way. In the GTC your view extends upwards without interruption. Curiously, this unusual feature seems to add detail to what you see along the road, and gives an equally mysterious feeling of space. ?Should I get one? If a sunroof is around £600, then this has to be worth twice as much as that. And at £850, it’s a steal. On the move, there’s no difference between a Sport Hatch and a Sport Hatch GTC, besides the panorama. Vauxhall’s engineers say the GTC’s big bonded glass panel makes its body just as rigid as the full steel one, and on a brief drive we could notice no difference in wind or road noise. The big advance is what you see when you look out of the car, and many buyers will find it fascinating. Steve Cropley

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