No, like always the Astra is a competitor to the benchmark in this class, the VW Golf. Currently I drive a seven gen. Golf and I must say the ride and build quality is fantastic. Even the other car I drive, a fully loaded KIA Eptimo station wagon can't keep up with this Golf. Especialy the seats and ride quality, even the Golf is only a slighted upgraded base model.Anyone seen the latest Opel Astra? Funny enough, it looks more American IMO than it ever did under GM.