The new regulation issued by Euro NCAP mean that vehicles now have one overall star rating with a maximum five stars. The number of stars reflects the car's performance in four key areas: adult protection, child safety, pedestrian protection and safety assist. The score is calculated by weighing points in these four areas, while ensuring that no one section is neglected.
Passenger occupant protection in a frontal impact attracted a very high score for the Astra, but points were also added for its advanced Electronic Stability Control+ system, which improves vehicle stability by detecting and minimising skids.
The Astra's rigid passenger compartment contributed to the exceptional rating, too. The structure is made from high-strength steel that Vauxhall's engineers designed for the least deformation and highest survival space in case of a crash. The front and rear of the cabin are also surrounded by crumple zones that deform and protect in a safe, controlled manner.
Among the many safety features in the Astra are new, advanced dual seat belt pre-tensioners which help prevent injury by keeping occupants' hips in place during a crash, eliminating the need for expensive, heavy knee airbags and liberating more occupant storage space.
Other safety equipment comprises six airbags, a smart seat belt reminder system and a passenger airbag deactivation switch to allow child seats to be placed on the front passenger seat. ABS with numerous assistance functions, traction control, adaptive brake lights and Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) are also included in the Astra's safety armoury.