Opel Astra? Opel? Hang on a minute, I thought the Astra was put out by Holden. What’s going on here? Are car manufacturers allowed to do that and nick the names of each other’s vehicles, as if they were first names? What about copyright? Are we going to see the Subaru Cayenne or the Toyota Falcon coming out next?
Well, no. Sit down and take a deep breath. The arrival in Australia of the Opel Astra is not the beginning of a free-for all name-swapping session. Instead, it’s an acknowledgement of the close relationship between Holden and Opel, which have shared the Astra for years, sort of, with both marques being subsidiaries of General Motors. In fact, if you mentioned the Holden Astra to anyone outside Australia or New Zealand, they would have given you a blank look and said, “Isn’t it the Opel Astra?” But this should clear the situation up. The Holden Astra appeared Down Under between 1984 and 2009. The Astra was marketed in mainland Europe with the Opel badge in 1991, with these units being made in Germany. Some of these made it Down Under with the label “Opel Vectra”. Just to make things even more confusing, the Astra had a Vauxhall badge in the UK and a Chevrolet badge in Latin America. Holden has now replaced the Astra with the Holden Cruze (see elsewhere for a review of this vehicle) and has introduced the Opel Astra.
That’s all a bit convoluted and will make your brain ache if you think about it too much. Let’s get onto the car itself. The Opel Astra is a sensible and practical small five-door family car with plenty of appeal and plenty of choices. Two body styles are coming to Australia: the five-door hatchback and the five-door sports tourer, which is almost worth calling a station wagon or estate car with all the room it has in the back. The difference between the two styles is about 28 centimetres’ length and 25 mm height, with the width, wheelbase and turning circle being the same for both.
The next choice offered by the Opel Astra is the engine type. Do you want a 1.4 litre turbo petrol engine, a 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine or a 2.0 litre turbodiesel? I’m kind of biased here, as this writer’s a bit of a fan of small diesel engines, especially with the possibility of putting biodiesel in it, so that would be my pick. But you might like to find your own favourite, using the specs to guide you. So here we go for the power: the 1.4 peaks at 103 kW at 4900–6000 rpm, the 1.6 peaks at 132 kW at 5500 rpm and the diesel delivers 121 kW at 4000. And for the torque, the 1.4 does 200 Nm in the 1850–4900 range, the 1.6 does 230 Nm at 2200 revs and the diesel delivers 350 Nm in the 1750–2500 rpm range, meaning that this will be happy enough taking the trailer to the dump or when you move house (now you know another reason why I like them). All three engines can come harnessed with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic with active select manual tiptronic selection, although the automatic transmission is only available on the Opel Astra Sports Tourer. Now, let’s translate that into how they perform in the sprints. The Usain Bolt of the Opel Astra engines is the 1.6 litre petrol hatchback with the manual transmission, which does the 0–100 km/h dash in 8.5 seconds. Second equal are the 1.6 auto and the 2.0 manual hatches, which do it in 9.0 seconds. The 2.0 auto hatch comes in a shade behind them at 9.2 seconds, followed by the 1.6 auto sports tourer (9.5 seconds), the 2.0 diesel auto sports tourer (9.8 s), the 1.4 litre manual hatchback (9.9), the 1.4 auto hatch (10.2 s) and the 1.4 auto sports tourer (10.8 s).
However, if fuel consumption is the deciding factor for you, then the winner is the 2.0 manual hatch at 4.7 L/100 km for combined economy (that’s yet another reason I like little diesels), followed by the 1.4 manual hatch, the 2.0 auto hatch and sports tourer, all at 5.9 L/100km. The thirstiest of the lot is the 1.6 litre auto (both body styles) at 7.3 L/100 km, with the other possibilities slurping down 6.7 L/100 km (1.4 auto hatchback), 6.9 L/100 km (1.4 auto sports tourer) and 7.0 L/100 km (1.6 manual hatchback). All three engines comply with Euro V emissions standards.
And now for the fun stuff for the Opel Astra: what bells and whistles has it got? There are three specifications available, the plain ordinary Opel Astra, the Astra Select and the Astra Sport. However, only the Astra and the Astra Select come with the Sports Tourer (Wagon) body style. And the Astra Sports specs only go with the 1.6 litre engine. And the 1.6 litre engine doesn’t come with the basic level of specs – they’re only for the 1.4 and the 2.0 litre. (See the bottom of the page for all the combinations – it’s easier to list all 14 combos this way!). To give you an idea though; the basic Opel Astra has 16-inch alloys (with the tyre type depending on the engine and transmission type), power steering, bits of chrome on the exhaust tip, body colour exterior mirrors, daytime running lamps, tilt and telescopic adjusting steering column, comfort-style front seats, reading lights, a front power outlet, electric windows (everything does, these days!), air-con, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity with voice control, keyless entry, and an MP3-compatible CD player with auxiliary input and USB input. Now that’s a pretty useful kit for a base model.
Don’t get me started on all the possibilities offered by the optional packages for each variant or we’ll be here all night! Suffice it to say that there’s a lot of choice for what you get in a practical small family car.
However, no matter what variant of Opel Astra you pick, you won’t compromise on safety by choosing the base model, as all three have the full set of active and passive safety features. These safety features, by the way, are active headrests, ABS brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, pre-tensioned seatbelts and the full set of airbags (dual front, dual side and dual curtain).
Opel Astra handling and ride are right up there; so you’re not going to be too disappointed here.
The current Opel Astra models include the:
For any more information on the new Opel Astra or, for that matter, any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 303 181. If you’d like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quote requests out to our national network of Opel dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours. Private Fleet – car buying made easy!
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