The Vauxhall Astra VXR hot hatchback sits at the very top of the Vauxhall Astra range Focused on driving thrills, this car is all about delivering serious speed to people who still want the size and practicality of the standard Astra.
To achieve this, Vauxhall has fitted the VXR with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that produces 276bhp. This power output makes it one of the most powerful cars in is class, with acceleration from 0-62mph taking a mere 5.9 seconds.
The engineers at Vauxhall have aimed for involving handling as well as speed in a straight line, and this has meant tweaks to the steering and suspension setups. The result is a car with a tremendous amount of grip and an adjustable suspension that can be made extremely firm for excellent body control in corners.
The VXR's three main rivals are the Ford Focus ST, Renault Megane Renaultsport and Volkswagen Scirocco R. All of them have various different strengths and weaknesses, but the VXR is only really beaten by the Renault in terms of driving pleasure.
Despite the performance available and the speed-orientated setup of the car, the VXR is still very usable on an everyday basis. It has a pretty large boot, and although it's only available in three-door form, space in the rear seats is actually quite good once you’re in.
The car comes with plenty of standard equipment, but it's likely to end up costing you more than most of its rivals. Whether you decide to take the plunge is likely to depend on how smitten you are by the VXR's looks and power.