Vauxhall Astra GTC hatchback

£20,475 - £26,010

The Vauxhall Astra GTC is the sportier, three-door version of the five-door Astra hatchback. However, all of its body panels are unique to this model, giving it a more flowing and muscular shape. Its once-striking looks have dulled a little with the passing of time, but it still looks the part, especially with the boy-racer touches of Limited Edition trim.

To ensure the GTC has sportier responses than the five-door Astra hatchback, Vauxhall has given it suspension from the high-performance Vauxhall Insignia VXR. Speaking of that badge, there is of course an ultra-sporty Astra VXR coupe powered by a 272bhp petrol engine. However, it's quite distinct from the GTC and is reviewed separately.

The GTC's rivals include the value-for-money Hyundai Veloster, the very capable Renault Megane coupe and the striking-looking Volkswagen Scirocco. Others are the stylish SEAT Leon SC and the surprisingly spacious Kia Pro_cee’d GT.

Despite its sporty looks, the GTC is a spacious and practical car, with more than enough room for two passengers in the back and everyone's luggage in the boot. There's plenty of oddments storage, too.

The model is powered by a choice of diesel and petrol engines, offering a range of power outputs. Fuel consumption and emissions range from a best of 72.4mpg and 104g/km of CO2 for the 107bhp 1.6-litre diesel to a worst of 42.2mpg and 156g/km for the 194bhp 1.6-litre petrol in Limited Edition trim.

There are three main trim levels – Sport, SRi and Limited Edition – as well as one extra trim called BiTurbo, which is reserved for the most powerful diesel engine. Standard equipment is competitive, with even basic Sport models getting 18-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning and a DAB digital radio. Options include the FlexRide adaptive chassis system, which provides three driving modes. In addition, there are numerous option packs offering everything from driver assistance technology to styling additions.

We recommend the 161bhp 2.0-litre CDTi SRi for its combination of value for money, strong performance, good fuel economy and emissions and smart looks.