13 September 2004

Vauxhall's Astra three-door, or Sport Hatch as it will be known, will be offered with panoramic glass in time for next summer. The extended windscreen covers an area of 1.8-metres square, and is made out of 6mm thick laminated safetly glass. Its designers claim that it offers an almost unlimited field of vision superior to that of a convertible, and only matched by the view from the cockpit of an aeroplane. Vauxhall has also made it clear that the extended glass doesn't compromise front impact or rollover protection, thanks to strong A- and B-pillars and an additional cross member running across the roof behind it. Heat-absorbing glass will ensure that it doesn't turn the three-door hatch into a mobile greenhouse, while fold out sun blinds mounted on the header rail provide shade from direct sunlight. Equipped with the extra glass, the Astra weights just 10kg more than the standard car.

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