Astra tops motoring's Euro referendum
A traditional opening salvo of the Geneva motor show is the naming of the European Car of the Year, writes William Scholes.
The winner this year, as judged by a panel of motoring journalists from across Europe and revealed this week, is the Vauxhall Astra.
In its latest guise, the Astra is not only a huge leap forward from the previous version of the car but has also become a class-leading family hatch.
It impressed me greatly when I tested it last year, being fun to drive, well equipped and thoughtfully designed for family duties. The adaptive LED headlamps that can be specified on the car are superb.
The latest Astra manages the neat trick of being smaller than the car it replaced yet bigger inside. It is also considerably lighter than the old car, which benefits fuel economy.
The Astra only narrowly pipped Volvo's excellent XC90 in the jury's votes, with both cars well ahead of another superb car and Drive favourite, the Mazda MX-5.