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.
For many, it seems, an Vauxhall Astra will always be a Vauxhall Astra — which loosely translates as an uninspiring car that you're forced to drive.
More fool them, I say, and I’m pretty sure that the mass of owners and leasers that are accelerating sales at quite a rate at present will come to think the same way as me.
Downsides? There are a few, and some that will worry ardent car enthusiasts, not least the overly light and uninvolving steering and fractionally too hard ride quality.
But I’d counter that by asking how important those factors truly are for the majority of family car owners.
In many ways, Vauxhall only has itself to blame, of course.
A succession of decent but far from class-leading Astras has taken a toll on the model’s reputation that only a succession of better-than-average launches can truly wipe away.
Likewise, the firm’s addiction to discounting (it’s not difficult to find 10% off a new Astra, even so soon after launch) does little to build confidence.
Overall, though, this new Astra is too good to ignore.
It is not just a significant leap better than what went before; on several (but not all) levels it’s a genuine class leader.
Now you know — and you can join me in spreading the word.
Read our previous long-term report here
Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 136PS SRi Nav
Price £21,480 Price as tested £23,800 Mileage 5050 Economy 57.1mpg Faults None Expenses None