The Astra Sport Hatch has just been added to the Vauxhall price list, and it’s good news for style conscious buyers. Despite the new model’s coupe-like styling, the range is no more expensive than the equivalent 5-door versions, starting at just £13,795 for the 1.4SXi.

What’s more, the Panoramic Windscreen option, which has become the year’s most talked about automotive innovation, will cost just £850 when it becomes available in May. With a huge section of glass stretching from the top of the bonnet over the passengers’ heads, it’s set to bring a whole new dimension to driving, especially on scenic roads.

With looks which are little changed from the stunning GTC concept car, which starred at the 2003 Geneva motor show, the Astra Sport Hatch’s bold styling has taken the industry by surprise, and makes rivals’ offerings look instantly dull. But despite its coupe-like looks, the Sport Hatch still offers the practicality you’d expect from an Astra, with five seats and a 302-litre boot capacity.

"With the new Astra Sport Hatch we are introducing a model that breaks away from the traditional 'two doors less than a five-door' approach," says Kevin Wale, Vauxhall’s chairman and managing director. "The Sport Hatch will particularly appeal to drivers who want expressive design, innovative technology and exciting driving, but have a lifestyle which still requires an element of practicality. With the Sport Hatch there are no compromises."

Because of the Sport Hatch’s unique position, only the sporty SXI, SRi and Design trim levels will be offered, all fitted as standard with lowered sports suspension and alloy wheels. Petrol engines range from the tax-efficient and sprightly 90PS 1.4i up to the 170PS 2-litre turbo. The diesels – a 1.7-litre and a pair of 1.9-litres – are all EuroIV emissions compliant to minimise tax liability for company car drivers, yet the 150PS unit can offer hot-hatch like performance, with a 0-60mph time of just 8.3 seconds combined with a 42.2mpg average economy figure. The stunning flagship for the Sport Hatch range, the 240bhp VXR, will go on sale in the summer.

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