|Annual road tax||£140|
|Service intervals||1 year/20,000|
|Euro NCAP rating||5-star|
Our nearly new category considers any car up to 12 months old, but our judges were looking for more than just steep first-year depreciation. They wanted the space, practicality and low running costs that turn a cheap car into a terrific-value one.
The Vauxhall Astra is that car. Firstly, our pricing experts believe it is losing nearly half its value in the first year; that's worrying for new-car owners, but great news for used buyers.
Thankfully, that dramatic drop has a lot to do with sales numbers. There are hundreds of nearly new Astras out there, which means you can be fussy about engine and trim combinations.
We think the smooth 1.6-litre petrol is the pick of the range. With 116bhp, it feels punchy even with a family of four inside, and fuel economy stays at a respectable 44.8mpg. Exclusiv trim gives you the equipment you'll want, too, such as air-con, alloy wheels, cruise control, steering-mounted audio controls and a CD player.
Whichever Astra you choose, though, comfort is a given. Head- and legroom are generous both front and rear, and the wide cabin ensures decent shoulder space. The boot is big, and split-folding rear seats add extra versatility. Considering the Astra also has a five-star NCAP rating, it's hard to think of another car less than a year old that offers such value for money.