After a few weeks of having a Mk5 in the household I thought I'd share my thoughts. When my better half recently got a new company car and was given a Mk5 1.6 'Breeze' I was pretty excited at the prospect as I hadn't actually driven a mk5 before and have always fancied getting one as my next car.
It's also a good comparison to my own car, both 1.6 16v 5 doors in silver and both pretty similar trim levels.
The mk5 drives nicely enough, pretty smooth, decent level of kit.. but I genuinely prefer my own car which I'm quite gutted about. I don't like the indicator/wiper stalks on the mk5, I find the dash a bit cheap, I don't like the gearstick, my own car seems quicker and more responsive (although the mk5 probably needs more miles on it). Perhaps my car is just like a comfy old pair of shoes to me and that's why it feels better but that's why I've waited until I've driven the Mk5 for a few weeks to have a more fair comparison. The mk4 just 'feels' better.
My girlfriend is away on the train today so I had the choice of both cars - the Mk5 is still at home. My brother on the other hand got a new focus recently and while I prefer the Astra to look at, it seems the better car in every other way. I think I'll be looking elsewhere for my next car.