PRACTICALITY is the Vauxhall Astra Sport Tourer’s biggest draw, although its sleek styling means it’s easy on the eye as well.

Assembled locally at the Ellesmere Port plant, there are eight engines and five trim levels to choose from. I drove the new Ecoflex version , which has Stop/Start technology and features a Diesel Particulate Filter and variable geometry turbocharger.

Ride quality is smooth, with suspension coping well with rough road surfaces. A core body structure enhances the ride and handling, while also reducing noise and vibration inside the cabin.

Standard kit includes sat-nav, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, multi-function trip computer, air-conditioning, cruise control and electric heated mirrors and electric windows.

However, passengers in the back still have to manually wind down the windows, as electric rear windows are only found on the highest spec Vauxhalls. Parking sensors are an option and always helpful for a car this size if you’re driving and parking in busy towns and cities.

The boot has 500 litres of space with the seats in place and FlexFold seating allows the rear seats to fold at the touch of a button, taking the capacity to 1,550 litres.

There is also an additional 25 litres of storage space in the cabin. And, like its hatch sibling, the Sports Tourer also benefits from the option of Ergonomic Sports Seats, providing front occupants with best-in-class comfort.

FlexRide, Vauxhall’s adaptive suspension system, is also available as an option. It continuously adapts to changes in driving style and cornering speed. In Standard mode, FlexRide offers the whole bandwidth of settings available and adjusts to suit the driver’s behaviour.

In Tour mode, damper settings are relaxed to optimise ride quality, while in Sport mode, throttle and steering responses are sharpened, in addition to the adoption of stiffer damper settings.

Safety equipment includes Electronic Stability Control as standard, along with lots of airbags and daytime running lights for extra visibility. The latest generation active head restraints are fitted to all models, and provide enhanced protection from whiplash injuries if the car suffers a rear-end impact.

Prices are high compared to some of its rivals, but the Astra comes with the reassurance of a 100,000-mile warranty with no mileage limit.

Factfile Car: Astra Sports Tourer Tech Line
On the road: £20,525
Top speed: 125mph
0-60mph: 9.7 seconds
Fuel: 72.4mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 104g/km