Yesterday I spent most of the day in a hot warehouse somewhere in Paris looking at the new Vauxhall Astra. Luckily it was worth it, because in the flesh the Astra is a handsome-looking car, strikingly more appealing than the press shots that were released.

Judging by the amount of times the team from Vauxhall mentioned the Insignia in the same breath as the Astra, it is clear the company is very proud of its saloon. And so they should be, it is a good all-round car which has lifted Vauxhall beyond the baggage the Vectra seemed to carry with it.

New Astra 'better than Insignia'

Astra Sport Hatch is 'outlandish'

The Astra, with bits of trim and styling pinched from the Insignia, is very much a Mini Me of its big brother. In official Luton speak, however, it is “sporty with an elegant touch” instead of “elegant with a sporty touch” for the Insignia. Even the “blade” design on the side has been turned around the other way on the Astra.