Much more sporty than the Astra hatchback
Poor view out and confusing dashboard
Most bases covered
It all feels solid, and Vauxhall's record isn't bad, so we don't expect many problems
Good passenger space and big boot
Base model is our pick
For the most part, the Astra GTC lives up to its sporty looks, with neat handling that's helped by a lower, wider body and more sophisticated suspension than the five-door Astra. The steering is responsive, too, but it's a little short on feel. Even if you choose the blingy larger alloy wheels, the ride is surprisingly comfortable. It's a shame the engines let the side down - the smaller petrols are a bit gutless and the diesels are noisy. Our favourite the 178bhp 1.6 turbo petrol is reasonably smooth and strong, though. The Astra VXR is a hot hatch version of the GTC, with a bonkers 276bhp turbo petrol engine. It's brutally quick, but unruly, with too much power for its own good.
The GTC's cabin is much like any other Astra's, which is mostly a good thing. However, the GTC has a few extra shiny bits, for an even swisher look. Despite its slinky styling the GTC is practical, too: it's a genuine four-seater, with plenty of space in the front and back and a decent boot.
The dashboard is a bit fussy, though, with a lot of similar-looking switches and an infotainment system that's unnecessarily fiddly.
Bear in mind that those long side doors can be a bit of a pain in tight car parking spaces, too, and it's a long reach to the seat belt when you get in. Rear visibility is poor, due to the small rear windows, so it's disappointing that rear parking sensors aren't standard across the range.
Vauxhall's record in our reliability and JD Power customer satisfaction surveys isn't good, and the regular Astra scored only average marks for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey.
With six airbags as standard and a stability control system to help keep you on the road, the GTC is as safe as any Astra. In Euro NCAP crash tests the GTC scored a maximum five stars, with a 91% score for adult occupants and 79% for child occupants. That's higher than a VW Scirocco.
If you're after a stylish hatchback that's good to drive, the Astra GTC is well worth a look. We'd suggest choosing your model carefully, though, and make sure you get a good deal on the list price, because big discounts are available and the GTC won't hold its value especially well.