This Is The Next Opel Astra

Opel revealed the next model of Astra replacing the version which has been on sale since 2009.

2016 Opel Astra. More athletic-looking than the last car, says Opel:
2016 Opel Astra. More athletic-looking than the last car, says Opel:

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).

Ah, that C-pillar. The cant rail looks familiar. We could do a whole month of article on C-pillars here:
Ah, that C-pillar. The cant rail looks familiar. We could do a whole month of article on C-pillars here:

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.

This looks okay but I want to see in beige:
This looks okay but I want to see in beige:

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:

Doesn´t this look vaguely Citroenesque? It´s the 2013 Opel Monza concept:
Doesn´t this look vaguely Citroenesque? It´s the 2013 Opel Monza concept:

“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.”

This C-pillar does not inspire the 2016 Astra at all, does it?
This C-pillar does not inspire the 2016 Astra at all, does it?

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.

Look at the way the A-pillar blends with the cant rail and terminates at the rear lamps. The 1999 Ford Focus:
Look at the way the A-pillar blends with the cant rail and terminates at the rear lamps. The 1999 Ford Focus: At the time it appeared quite unsettling but with the passage of time it seems as clean-flanked as a GS (Citroen, not a Lexus).

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.

2014 Nissan Sport Sedan (everyone calls it the next Maxima):
2014 Nissan Sport Sedan (everyone calls it the next Maxima):

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

23 thoughts on “This Is The Next Opel Astra”

  1. Speaking of citroënesque-ness… Some years ago there were a lot of rumours about GM and PSA building common platforms in the future. Not much is left of that by now, as far as I know, but instead GM manages to put a vehicle that looks exactly like a DS4 (not a very citroënesque car) on what is apparently one of their own platforms.

    Sarcasm aside, while I don’t like this busy featurism, either, I really welcome the current trend of weight saving and more interior space at smaller outer volume.

    And to go back to the citroënesqueness: Opel seems to have some tradition in this. See the facelifted Rekord E (1982) whose headlight and grille treatment resemble the CX. Or the 1984 Kadett E which some compared to the GS(A) (aerodynamic shape, roofline treatment, vertically stacked rear lights, partly also the rear wheelarch. And don’t forget the 1920s “Laubfrosch”, an exact copy of Citroën’s 5HP.

  2. Yes, quite right about the Opel Rekord. Opel also had a go with partially covered wheel arches on several cars. You see bits of Citroen themes in all sorts of places except at Citroen. I feel the Audi A5 (or is it A7) as a roofine that is very Citroenesque. The saloon Renault Laguna had the CX´s wing line and generally could been a much more convincing C5 than either of the C5s.
    However good this Astra is (styling aside) the British press will dismiss it.

    1. Richard, you’ll have to explain this CX wing line on the Laguna to me. I looked at hundreds of photos and couldn’t see it. I didn’t even find out which generation you meant. Is it the second? I really liked its shape and yes, I’d prefer it over a blown-up looking C5 I or a wannabe german C5 II.

      Regarding A5/7: I really envy the Audi people for their fastbacks. Someone once superimposed a CX picture over an A5, and yes, the silhouette was nearly identical. Only the wheels were on the wrong spot. The A7 isn’t far away, either.

  3. I’ve written elsewhere (sorry, old habits and all that) on this and won’t repeat, but I feel very similarly to you both about this car. I think the design references to the, at the time, well received Monza concept, are a bit tenuous. That said, there are clearly people who prefer the more feature-ful design, and I do find it handsome, in spite of the busy-ness – the point is that it would have looked better without all the noise. I enjoyed simonstahel’s recollections of Citroenesque Opels of the past! In particular, I recall that Kadett/ Astra being scooped on the front cover of Car and immediately thinking that it looked like a (badly) facelifted GSA.

    Overall, it looks as if GM Europe still has a nice looking car, and has sought to address out of date drivetrains, weight and space efficiency issues, and, possibly driving experience (albeit I think the underlying chassis is a carry over from the current car – so probably best not to expect revolution here). So, put a different way, it’s like the new Corsa (and MkVI Golf), a thorough “uber” lifting of the existing car. As such, I think it might date quite quickly, but we’ll see.

  4. I don´t expect this to last without a facelift before three years are out. They will start work on that after Christmas, I am sure. And yes, I bet the underlying car is quite similar. Hence the need to apply all that make-up.

  5. While I am not a fan of the current trend for using graphics to dress up bland shapes, in this case I find the overall effect quite pleasing. The headlamp treatment looks more like the Astra H than the J, whilst side sculpting serves to reduce visual mass. Only the overly fussy bumper treatments let the side down.

  6. Shiro Nakamura must feel very pleased indeed.

    It’s a pity that someone felt this pretty sound design exercise needed that fussy, daft c-pillar. It really looks like one of those last minute revisions to spice the dish up just before serving it. And those BMW-esque rear lamps are also somewhat disappointing, considering the esteem in which I and others around here are holding Mark Adams and his team. They should be able to do better.

  7. Regarding the Focus, I have never quite understood why Ford insisted on cack-handedly reinventing the wheel for the mark 2. The mark 1 was a master class in rationalism, with hardly an extraneous line or fillet panel to be seen. I can only surmise that Ford, traumatised by Jacques Nasser’s reign of terror, did not recognise the paradigm it had accidentally created. Either that or the mark 1 was a massive pain in the arse to build. Either way the mark 2, whilst still a fine car, failed to further distillate that pioneering spirit.

  8. Whilst appreciating the pioneering the Focus Mk 1 has done, I actually like the Mk 2 more. It’s styled really cleanly and calmly. And, big bonus, the fastback! Almost like a GS! (Actually, much more so than anything Opel has ever created.) What’s really awful is all that bling-bling they had to add to the Mk 2 with the facelift.

    1. Ah, I would disagree. I thought the facelifted mark 2.5 looked happier in its skin, far more so than the mark 2 which looked to me like a political solution. I would also go so far to say that the styling of the mark 2.5 was superior to that of the mark 3, the same general themes applied to a more sober shape.

    2. I agree about the Mk 2.5 / Mk 3 comparison. The latter is just awful, blown up and blobby, and with rear lights looking as if some paint has been spilled. But we will not agree on the facelift. I like the sober shape without anything “applied”.

    1. Is it churlish of me to point out that horrible misaligned panel-gap either side of the headlamp? 😝

    2. Well spotted. It might very well be that that was the least bad option at that stage in the design process. Another way of looking at is to say at least they are parallel. Most front clips these days have unwanted diagonals. The sweet spot was the late 90s when bumpers joined to wings with a horizontal panel gap. As soon as the bumper and wing were integrated the panel gap could go anywhere and so it went diagonal. I bet if you go looking you´ll find a lot worse out there.

    3. Why is Stellantis doing the Oldsmobile/Buick thing now? At least the Leon doesn’t look like a reskinned Golf, and the Octavia is a bit larger. I am going to miss the outgoing Astra.

      Golf with “lion teeth”

      Golf with “visor”

      Van den Acker style Golf (not shown)

  9. Hello Daniel, I’m going to let them off that one, for the moment (and I have to admit that I didn’t notice it).

    1. Hi Charles and Richard. In fairness, this is much worse, from none other than Mercedes-Benz on the current A-Class:

    2. Or my all-time least favourite example from the fuel filler area of the last Ford Focus.

    3. Ah yes, that infamous filler flap. Amazingly, Ford managed to make it even worse when it facelifted the Focus. The bottom edge of the revised shallower rear lights no longer aligned with the bottom edge of the flap:

    1. Hi Charles. Thanks for posting the link. It’s very much a ‘du jour’ design, but nice and clean, and the ‘visor’ front end is refreshingly different. Not entirely sure that the lower bodyside crease isn’t already becoming a bit of a cliché and the triangular plastic trim insert in the C-pillar is a bit fussy. At least they haven’t tried to put a ‘hidden’ door handle in that space!

    2. True. The whole rear side window is a bit odd, but I don’t hate it. I like the ‘visor’, too. I look forward to seeing one in the metal, next year.

    3. I like this Astra quite a lot – especially the angular, almost Cubist interior. It seems that the Astra H was the main inspiration, both inside and out? Apparently the C-pillar trim is a Kadett D/E reference, which is a very nice idea in my opinion and the execution is very decent – and it’s fun that they’ve styled the driver’s vent on the dash in a similar way. The whole front end is very well done and I like the surfacing above the wheelarches. On the contrary, the folds and creases on the lower bodysides (indeed a bit of a cliché, though I guess Opel were among the first to do such stuff) and the rear are a bit harsh, also the taillights are a bit too close to VW’s latest look – the ID3 especially?

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