General Motors Europe 'design appearance quality' head Peter Hasselbach said the automaker's goal for the redesigned Astra's cabin "was to make the perceptual quality in the interior as great as that of the Insignia".

GME, which released first interior photos today, said the quality of the materials can be seen in areas like the grained surfaces, the textured panels, the chrome trim elements and the feel and operation of the buttons and switches.

All main surfaces are textured with upscale materials and top grains to give a strong, premium feel.

The automaker is also claiming industry-leading levels of adjustment for the new front seats which can be raised up to 65mm and have a fore-aft range of 280mm. Ergonomic sports seats in top models have improved tilt adjustment, four-way power lumbar support, superior side support and supporting foam pads.

The company researched what people store in their cars and where they put various items and designed compartments to suit the 20 most common items customers stored in their cars - the new Astra has a hard-shell sunglasses above the door opening on the driver's side; coin slots and pen holders moulded into the inside edge of the glove box lid; the glove box itself has two removable compartments; and a second mini-glove box has been added just below the light switch.

The centre console can accommodate nine CD cases and also has a small storage area and an insert for two cup holders. There's also the option of an under-seat drawer beneath the passenger seat which is big enough to hold a pair of shoes. Rear passengers get a 12-volt supply mp3 players and space for drinks bottles.

In the boot [trunk], a patented flex-floor was devised to offer further under-floor storage and the floor itself can be fixed at different heights.

As for gloves, the survey found most owners don't keep them in the glovebox at all. They are usually thrown into the door's side pocket, next to the ice scraper...