We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering -- would you buy one?
What is it?
This is the top of the range Opel Astra wagon with the diesel auto powertrain and all the fruit.
Explore the 2012 Opel Astra Range
Start price is $35,990 but this vehicle had options taking the price up to and over $40,000.
What are competitors?
Golf, Focus, Lancer, Mazda3, Corolla, you name it, they've got heads on them like white mice.
What's under the bonnet?
Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbodiesel four with 121kW/350Nm output driving the front wheels through a conventional six speed automatic transmission.
How does it go?
Remarkably well. With 350Nm of torque on tap from just 1750 revs, finding power to overtake is never a problem. Steering is tight with reasonable driver feedback and the brakes are excellent, with the auto gearbox providing nice engine braking to compliment the brakes.
Is it economical?
It's a diesel, so the answer is a big, smelly, noisy YES. That's a bit unfair, however, with the little diesel engine purring as smoothly as most petrol engines. Agricultural diesel engines appear to be a thing of the past for modern cars. Expect around 6.0 litres/100kms.
Is it green?
In terms of fuel use, yes. Low carbon dioxide output too and the car would have a relatively green manufacturing process.
Is it safe?
Sure is. Along with a Five-Star ANCAP rating, it has six airbags, countless electronic safety devices and, for passive safety, the excellent brakes and handling keep it out of trouble.
Is it comfortable?
It's a tight-ish cabin, but very comfortable. Might be a little claustrophobic for those with larger frames. The load space is generous and expandable to huge. Access to the cabin is facilitated by decent size doors and the rear hatch open high and wide.
What's it like to drive?
Great. Certainly doesn't feel like a diesel, there's great steering feedback for a car of this kind and it has a suburb set of brakes. Steering is quite direct and the suspension tuned to give a nice balance of handling and comfort.
Is it value for money?
It's a great kit, but perhaps not the greatest value for money given how many good deals are around and how cheap the near new secondhand market is.
Would we buy one?
No. As enjoyable a drive as it is, at around $40,000 there's a lot of choice. If it was a little cheaper it would feature more prominently on our `wish list'.