With its sleek looks and practical benefits, Edward Stephens finds the new Astra GTC ticks all the right boxes.
With more curves than Naomi Campbell, Vauxhall’s GTC is certainly the pin-up of the Astra world.
In fact in some ways it’s almost a shame to put the Astra badge on its pert bottom, as it’s a car which could almost stand alone.
For despite being part of the Astra family it’s an entirely different animal. In fact the only exterior feature it shares with other Astra models are door handles and the roof aerial – even the wheelbase and tracks are different.
The GTC is not only a looker but also gets plenty of looks.
The sporty nature of the exterior is continued inside too, with leather trimmed sports seats, red illumination and stylish switch gear, not to mention heavily tinted rear side windows.
On this two-door coupe, however, beauty is not just skin deep. It’s a practical five seater with a generous boot. In fact, despite its sleek lines, the luggage compartment offers 380 litres of space with the rear seatbacks in position and 1,165 litres with them lowered.
And in spite of its rakish roof there is plenty of head and leg room even for passengers in the rear seats, although the outlook is more limited because of the sleek side windows.
Powered by a relatively small 1.4-litre engine but with a turbo, you get respectable power combined with sensible fuel economy.
The six-speed manual gearbox is light and impressively smooth to use and like so many cars today the GTC has an electronic handbrake to free up space between the two front seats.
Despite being designated a sports coupe, Vauxhall has ensured that economy is taken into consideration by fitting a stop-start system, so that any time the car stops so does the engine. Standard equipment also includes hill-start assist, which prevents the car rolling backwards when you are pulling away on a hill.
On the road the GTC offers a comfortable, responsive drive and pulls well even with four up, although I thinks it’s fair to say that its looks are sportier than its acceleration.
As on all Vauxhall SRi models, the suspension on my test car was firm, allowing for a sporty yet comfortable ride with enjoyable handling at speed.