Before forming an opinion on the GTC’s interior, one must first gain entry to it, and that means opening the huge doors fitted by Vauxhall. When you have room to spare on either side, it’s easy enough, but when you’re hemmed in by parked cars, access is rather more of a struggle.

Once inside, those who expect the cabin to replicate the exterior’s stylish makeover are likely to be disappointed. Perceptibly little has changed from the interior layout already available in the conventional Astra line-up.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The commodious boot is welcome, but a low floor and big lip will have you stooping for heavy loads like a steamship stoker

The raked A-pillars and low-swept roofline do not compromise visibility and the high beltline is liable to make drivers feel like they’re sitting lower than they actually are, but otherwise it’s a familiar, dowdy affair.

Vauxhall has made some effort to break the monotony; the SRi model we tested featured faux brushed aluminium inserts on the centre console, air vents and doors, but the same unfortunate cloudburst of black buttons remains on the dashboard.

Returning customers might praise the functional similarity, but the uninitiated will be left to plough forlornly through myriad knobs and switches.

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As the car has moved through its life cycle, Vauxhall has trimmed the range back to just two models – SRi and Limited. All cars get the OnStar concierge system with WiFi, DAB, auto lights and wipers and tinted rear windows, while a £2000 upgrade to Limited Edition spec adds 20in bi-colour alloys, sat nav, heated front seats and a VXR roof spoiler.

Although the hatch’s shortcomings have been inherited, so have its strengths. The coupé never feels less than spacious, especially in the back, where there’s adequate room for adult-sized legs.

A vast C-pillar and tiny windows can make it seem dingy, but headroom surprisingly decent considering the external aesthetic. There’s also a large boot, which, at 380 litres, offers almost 30 litres more capacity than the five-door hatch’s.

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