First glimpse of new Astra

* Sleeker and bigger * New low-emissions engines * On sale later this year...

First glimpse of new Astra

This is the clearest picture yet of Vauxhall's new Astra, which will go on sale later this year.

The new version is a departure from the current car, with styling that's influenced by the larger Insignia - especially at the front and in the sculpted sides.

The interior is also expected to borrow elements from the Insignia, with a sweeping centre console and options such as an electronic parking brake.

Rear passenger space one of the current car's weak points should be improved because the new car is expected to be longer and wider, with an increased distance between the front and rear wheels.

A range of new engines is expected to include a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol and a 1.7-litre diesel. Both should have more power, but lower CO2 emissions, than the units they replace.

The new model is crucial for Vauxhall, because parent company General Motors (GM) has been hit hard by the current financial crisis.

Vauxhall hopes that the new Astra and Ampera electric car will provide a significant sales boost.

Vauxhall hasn't confirmed prices or an on-sale date, but we expect the Astra to be on sale by December, with prices starting from around 13,000.