This latest version has arrived to universal acclaim, shone with four out of five stars under the spotlight of the Autocar road test, and won the prestigious European Car of the Year competition.
And still, as I climbed from its cabin after another refined, frugal, comfortable drive, neighbours would wander up and ask: “What on earth are you doing in a Vauxhall Astra?”
The answers are widespread: the 1.6-litre diesel engine is amazingly refined and economical at around 57mpg, the sports seats are extremely comfortable, the cabin is smart, and the infotainment system slick and intuitive.
I covered more than 1000 miles in it in a week, four up and with a full load of luggage and kids’ paraphernalia on board, and emerged without an ache or pain, thinking that this was a car I’d happily use every day for years.
The standout was the cabin — not because it has a particular wow factor, but because it is spacious, comfortable, and durable in a fuss-free way.
Likewise, the large central screen impressed, both because it was easy to use the sat-nav and music functions without needing to refer to the handbook, and because it paired seamlessly with a variety of phones.
It also has a touchscreen that responds quickly, which is more than can be said for many other such systems.
But did anyone listen? Not that I found.
Admittedly, the neighbours are used to seeing me in a variety of cars, some more inclined to get your pulse racing than a mainstream family hatch, but here, if ever there was such a thing, is a car that is judged without recourse to the facts.