The Astra sells like hotcakes but is not, to my eye, a particularly inspiring design although l must say it is getting better and better every time they offer a re-design.

Wait no longer if you are a Luton fan as the GTC is here with bags of style and a clean, perfectly proportioned body. Although it is based on the Astra’s Delta platform that is where the sharing of the parts bins stops as the door handles and and roof aerial are the only two body items shared between the models. It also gets the front suspension from the Insignia VXR which is what makes this a nifty little mover.

The stiffer suspension makes it ride well and the HiPerStrut front suspension reduces the dreaded torque steer and helps it glide and gives a responsive feel through the wheel. Power plant choice is quite important here as the turbocharged 1.4 and 1.6 are pretty good but it is the preferred 2-litre that does the job and gets you up the road at a good lick. What you do notice is the accuracy and crispness of the steering and the agile chassis giving the car a purposeful drive that matches the stylish rake of the exterior.

The interior is very much Astra and not very inspiring but it has all the gizmos you need and has a very logical and well-planned layout. The coupe feel is further imprinted with a lower seating position and there is a surprising amount of room in the back for a coupe although your rear seat passengers will suffer from a slight lack of anything to look at.

As with all such stylish coupes, there are come sacrifices you will have to make. A small rear window, large and heavy doors and a surprisingly small turning circle. On the plus side is the look of the thing. It really is good looking and try as l might as l circled the thing like a ravenous vulture seeking out a weakness, l couldn’t find one. It looks damn good from every angle.

What is surprising for a coupe is the size of the boot. It really is quite cavernous and will take three full size suitcases with ease. What is also surprising are the front seats. Tilt and slide them forward to allow passengers to climb aboard and they don’t then return to the same position leaving you to re-set them every time. This really is endlessly annoying and one would presume can be fixed with a tenner and a bit of ingenuity from the design team.

In this sector and price range, the competition will come from the the Scirocco, Mégane Coupe, Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series and l must say that the GTC stands up really well. It will never be a Germanic piece of clockwork engineering and you might be somewhat disappointed at the re-sale value after a year or two but all in all, Luton has turned out a little corker.


Model tested: GTC Limited Edition 1.6 CDTi ecoFlex

Engine: 1.6-litre

Power: 136 bhp

Performance: 0-60mph 9.5 seconds

Top Speed: 123 mph

Economy: 65.7 mpg combined

Price: £25,860.00

As tested: £28,140.00

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