Every year, motoring manufacturers dream up new and impressive ways to cram more technology under the bonnet, and to improve the driving experience. The Vauxhall Astra is an excellent case in point. Tens of thousands of them are registered every year, and the newest model provides a range of reasons to upgrade. Let’s take a look at them.

Advanced Park Assist & Rear-view Camera

The future of motoring may well be entirely driverless. But until that point arrives, we’ll have a series of incremental improvements, where the controls are handed over to a computer for smaller driving tasks that aren’t safety-critical. Advanced park assist uses a series of sensors to slide the vehicle into a parallel parking space without any input from the human driver. On top of that, there’s a rear-view camera, which uses the dashboard’s generous screen to provide the driver with a view of the area behind them. It makes sliding into a spot easier than it’s ever been.

- Advertisement -

Matrix Headlights

The modern headlight is made, not from a single halogen bulb, but from many different smaller LED ones. This means greater brightness and efficiency. So far, so unimpressive. What really change the experience here is that the Astra’s IntelliLux lights actually adapt to the road conditions, offering excellent visibility, whatever the state of the road in front of you. If another driver is coming in the other direction, it’ll automatically fade out your full-beams so that you don’t dazzle them.

In-seat Massage

This feature is available as an optional extra. While it might seem indulgent, it can be especially worthwhile to those going on very long drives. The seats themselves are supportive as well, and provide heat as well as vibration.

Automatic Handbrake

The traditional mechanical handbrake may well soon be a thing of the past. There’s a button to press after you’ve stopped, which means less uncertainty over whether the thing is fully engaged, and ultimately less of the wear-and-tear that comes from partial engagement. It’ll even disengage automatically as you drive away.

Safety Driving Assist

There are three features that aim to make the driving experience that much safer by involving the computer. First, there’s a forward collision alert – an alarm which sounds when the person in front of you has suddenly stopped. Then there’s automatic city braking, which will perform an emergency stop for you to prevent you from pulling into an unseen pedestrian. Finally, there’s lane assist, which will keep you in your lane via a ‘gentle nudge’ to the steering wheel whenever you seem to be drifting.