The Astra VXR comes in three-door Sport Hatch guise only and is priced at £18,995 – a £1,000 saving over the less powerful Volkswagen Golf GTi. The VXR should be a popular choice among user-choosers, with a 0-62mph time of just 6.2 seconds and a Lotus-tuned chassis. To mark it out from its lesser stablemates, the VXR gets 18-inch wheels and bodykit, plus carbon-effect trim inside and an alloy gearknob.
At the other end of the performance spectrum is the new 1.3-litre CDTi diesel, which is available in Life, Club and Breeze trim levels. With combined economy of 58.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 130g/km, the Euro IV-compliant car is in the lowest possible 15% benefit-in-kind tax band. Prices start at £13,895 on-the-road.