There comes a model with a legendary name that seems to have fallen off in the South African market with newer generations. Not referring to sales but the prominence of popularity amongst the mouths of consumers because cars such as the Volkswagen Golf are going strong, at least with the GTI. But still, with the unruffled talk of the Astra name in our market, it remains Opel’s best-selling vehicle to date. Now that the company sits under the Stellantis Group, it is starting to shift towards a new age of identity with regard to electrification and design.
The whole empire of these carmakers is changing and adapting to what the market would be interested in. In the case of the new Astra, it’s the goodies that will be shared with it such as the PSA EMP2 platform, technological features and new engine options. They keep adding the word “electrification” in the press release which is in reference to the Plug-in hybrid option that will be available. It might also be a hint that it will be available as an electric vehicle in future.
The new design language is what they call “Vizor” and it first debuted with a concept car that has the same name, then it was officially revealed in production skin with the Grandland in June. One way to describe this is ‘bold’, a bold look that actually works even at first glance. Its notable design aspect can be caught on the front end that sports a single piece panel encasing the new Adaptive Intelli-Lux LED Pixel lights and the Opel Blitz logo. Below is a functional radiator grille with side plates that have LED fog lights.
The side profile is not on the offensive side of one’s gaze but remains minimal only with an aggressive crease on the lower part of the door panels. It even reminds you of the Peugeot 308 which now is its cousin and will share certain parts with it, even the design influence and that is not a bad thing as current Peugeot models look really good. There is an option of a two-tone colour paint and this black and yellow combo work really well.
Moving to the rear end, there is a clear scent of a Golf 8 styling but it blends well with the slim taillights and the subtle sloping roofline. The Astra nameplate is spaced across the boot lid and above it is the Blitz logo that operates as a tailgate latch opener. Again, taking a page out of the German rival which isn’t a bad thing, leaves everything perfectly concealed on the surface.
The car is slightly larger than its predecessor, as it is 4 millimetres longer, 51 millimetres wider, 15 millimetres lower and the wheelbase has increased by 12 millimetres.
There are various powertrain options to choose from with petrol and diesel variants being announced alongside a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engines that we suspect will be offered are a 1.2-litre turbopetrol 3-cylinder, a 1.6-litre petrol 4-cylinder and a 1.5-litre diesel 4-cylinder with the power output varying from 110 hp (81 kW) to 130 hp (96 kW). A new hybrid powertrain will be offered with one of the engine options, taking the total output to 225 hp (165 KW) and it will only be available with the automatic transmission. The hybrid platform has a 12.4 kWh lithium-ion battery powering an 81 kW electric motor and it has a claimed 50 kilometres of range on electric power alone.
The first thing you’ll notice is the dual-screen set up with both digital screens measuring at 10 inches in size for both the infotainment system and instrument cluster, all in a panel with a high gloss surface. It adds to the flush cabin design that is simple yet interesting to look at. It will be available with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new AGR seats are wrapped in Nappa leather, have ventilation and heating with a massaging function, and they say that the seats will offer not only a comfortable ride but also an ergonomic experience that should calm your body muscles. The boot space is 422 litres.
Safety features include rear-cross traffic alert, long-range blind-spot detection, active lane positioning and a Stop & Go function in traffic. All these features are aided by four body cameras, five radar sensors and ultrasonic sensors.
There are rumours of an OPC version on the horizon and it will be hybridized with an expected output of 220 kW and all-wheel drive. The new Astra will launch in the European market in early 2022 and unfortunately, it won’t come to South Africa.
Source: Opel Astra Press Release