Opel revealed the next model of Astra replacing the version which has been on sale since 2009.
According to Opel’s press release the new version is inspired by the 2013 Monza concept. They also say the car looks more athletic than the last version. On both counts I am uncertain. But what is less uncertain are some of the factual claims. The new car is between 120 kg and 200 kg lighter and has smaller exterior dimensions than before. However, the interior is more roomy. I expect in particular that the boot is bigger as that was one critique of the current car.
Another criticism has been the engine range, the efficiency thereof. The combination of more frugal engines and a 200 kg weight loss means the car will be in fore quite impressive efficiency gains. As with the new Corsa, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the wirey, electricky, digital aspects so the car comes with OnStar which can provide connection to a concierge service, emergency services support and give the car a very high level of connectivity. GM has been offering OnStar for Cadillac in the US for years. It’ll be possible for up to seven mobile ‘phones to feed of the car’s data stream using 4G LTE (don’t ask).
The car is Intellilink R 4.0 compatible with Applle CarPlay and Android Auto so that will keep the under 30s happy. Driver assistance and technologies from the Insignia are migrating down and Opel have made a big deal about the seats which have 18-way adjustment, and a massage function.
Interestingly, while the press release says a fair amount about the engines and connectivity it’s rather short on information about the chassis and suspension. I presume this means the set-up is much the same as before. Here’s what Opel say about the engines:
“The 1.6 CDTI with a wide range of outputs starting at 70 kW/95 hp covers the diesel offer whereas the 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo (77 kW/105 hp) is the base level gasoline engines. The highlight in the Astra engine portfolio is the all-new 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo, a four-cylinder unit from the same family as the smaller but nonetheless powerful one-liter, three-cylinder engine. The all-aluminum engine will make its debut with 107 kW/145 hp. It impresses with dynamic responsiveness and high performance while curbing fuel consumption. The engine delivers maximum torque of up to 250 Nm very early. Maximum power is available between 1,800 and 4,000 rpm – perfect conditions for driving pleasure in combination with efficiency. Based on its construction, the new 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo also adds less weight to the car. The aluminum engine block alone weighs ten kilograms less than the forged steel block of the current 1.4-liter turbo.”
I will turn back to the styling and note ruefully that the car looks fussier than the current model and the C-pillar is another contrivance which doesn’t relate in any way to the 2013 Monza concept car which from some views is almost Citroenesque. The front end graphics are in line with what appears on the Adam and the revised Corsa.
If anything the Monza is the ultimate iteration of the “blade” feature that appeared on the Insignia and current Astra and which is now gone. I don’t dislike the Astra’s exterior in the light of what everyone else is doing and I certainly applaud the weight loss programme. I’d have preferred Opel to tack in the direction of a simpler exterior rather than go as Ford, Peugeot and others have towards adding meaningless feature lines.
The C-pillar treatment of the Astra is conceptually similar to the 2014 Nissan Maxima concept car. It adds what looks like glass but isn’t.