17 December 2003

Vauxhall forthcoming Astra will challenge Ford and VW's established market-leaders more fiercely than ever when it hits UK showrooms in May. That’s the conclusion that Mike Duff comes to after driving the new hatch, in this week’s Autocar.

One of a select few journalists invited to drive the fifth-generation car at GM’s European Winter Testing Centre in Finland, Duff writes that it's ‘very obviously a good car,’ and on British tarmac, rather than Finnish ice, ‘it will almost certainly become a better one.’

Majoring on active electronic safety equipment and driver aids, featuring much-improved cabin and switchgear quality, and to be offered with an impressive choice of power plants from launch, there was much to impress. ‘It is a much better car than its predecessor,’ Duff puts it, ‘and it will give the new Focus/Golf, etc, a much harder time as a result.’

For the full first drive, see this week’s magazine

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