Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
There’s plenty of head room for both driver and passenger, even if they’re over six feet tall. Leg room is also unlikely to be a problem, and you won’t be clashing elbows, either, thanks to the Astra’s relatively broad interior.
The front door pockets are big enough for a couple of 500ml bottles of water, and there’s more storage between the seats, along with a decent-sized glovebox. We just wish the cubby in front of the gearlever was a bit larger, to take those items that drivers want to keep close to hand.
Looking at the Astra's tapering roofline, you might expect rear space to be on the tight side. Surprisingly, rear head room is generous enough for tall adults to sit comfortably. Leg room is on a par with that of the larger Skoda Octavia – a huge compliment, because the Octavia has been the best in class for rear space. However, the Scala has even more leg and head room.
Having a wide interior means the Astra's shoulder room is good, too, although accommodating three adults side by side will still be a bit of a squeeze. Even so, occupants certainly won’t feel claustrophobic, because the big side windows let in plenty of light. Getting in is easy, too, because the doors open nice and wide, and the central tunnel is low and flat so middle seat passengers won't trip over it.
Seat folding and flexibility
Those expecting any clever tricks from the Astra’s rear seats will be disappointed, although they do offer the usual 60/40 split-folding function. If you want sliding or reclining rear seats, look at similar-sized family SUVs, such as the Skoda Karoq.
There’s no folding front passenger seat, either. That handy feature is available on several rivals, including the Volkswagen Golf, and makes it easier to carry really long items.
The Astra's 370-litre boot is reasonably spacious, but it's beaten by a number of rivals and comprehensively trounced by the larger Octavia's. It's a usefully square shape on all models, with a ribbed floor to help prevent objects from rolling around too much.
On Astras with no spare wheel, there's a step up to the rear seats when they're folded down. Opting for a space-saver spare wheel gives you a boot floor that's high enough to smooth that step out, as well as getting rid of the hefty lip at the boot entrance, although you obviously lose boot capacity. It’s a shame that a height-adjustable boot floor isn’t offered on the Astra; you can have one on most rivals.