Opel Astra – Review

Whether its diesel or petrol you’re after, I’ve got you covered. The Opel Astra has won European Car of the Year for 2015. I drove the Opel Astra 1.6 CDTi diesel and the 1.4 Turbo petrol, which one will suit you best?

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Opel Astra Elite & Opel Astra SC
Engine: 1.4 Turbo Petrol  – 150hp and 240Nm & 1.6 CDTi Diesel – 136hp and 320Nm
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual, Front Wheel Drive
Price: The Astra range starts from €19,995. The Elite starts from €26,995 and the SC starts from €24,495 for the 1.6 CDTi manual Start/Stop. Both cars came in at €30,695 and €23,245 respectively, including options.

Styling
Opel’s new styling is a bit like Marmite, its either loved or hated. I like the new look of the Astra, DSC_0013its proportioned much better than the out going model. The 1.4 Turbo was painted in Emerald Green which suited the car very well. It gave it a touch of class. The 1.6 CDTi was at the other end of the scale with the Cool Beige paint job, pretty boring.

Interior

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On the inside, Opel have kept practicality in mind. It is spacious up front and is rather comfy with the leather seats in the Elite trim. DSC_0040However, the SC trim levels cloth seats don’t support the occupants enough and you feel as if you are being thrown around the car when cornering. The equipment on the Elite trim level is good too. The heated leather seats help give the interior a more quality feel. Rear heated seats even come as standard.

The electrically adjustable seat is a nice touch. Although when I say seat, that is it. DSC_0036In the Elite trim, only the drivers seat is electronically controlled meaning the passenger has to do with just the regular manual handle. The dashboard and interior plastics are typically Opel. There is still the overuse of the dreaded scratchy plastics and the shiny surfaces reflect the sun which distracts the driver.

Standard Equipment
The 1.4 Turbo was in the Elite trim level and the 1.6 CDTi had the SC trim. As standard on the SC are cloth seats, DSC_0047R4.0 IntelliLink, cruise control and air con. The Elite trim, the top trim level, adds heated leather seats, Navi 900 IntelliLink system and dual climate control.

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Practicality/Boot Space
The boot space is a rather average 370 litres, 10 litres less than the Volkswagen Golf. The boot is easily accessible and is plentiful for a weekend away for you and your 3 to 4 passengers. Although for this long road trip, I would not recommend the 1.4 Turbo petrol as it is too thirsty….nor would I recommend the 1.6 CDTi diesel as it is too noisy…

On The Road
In terms of driving the Astra is not going to excite many. There is body roll in the corners so it is not going to win any races but thats not what it was built for. DSC_0003However, it is comfy around town. The diesel has 136hp and 320Nm while the petrol has 150hp and 245Nm. As tested in the Mokka, the 1.6 CDTi diesel which Opel claim to be whisper quiet, is definitely not so. It is loud at low and high speeds and even on the motorway. The 1.4 Turbo also sounds like a diesel, especially upon start up. I averaged 7.0l/100Km in the 1.4 petrol while I got 4.8l/100Km in the 1.6 diesel.

Competition
The Volkswagen Golf is a strong contender for the Astra and I can’t say that the Astra is better than it.DSC_0028 The interior quality is much better in the Golf with a nicer layout and better materials used. It is also more refined. I have driven the 2.0 TDI Volkswagen engine and it is much quieter and more refined than the 1.6 unit in the Opel.

Pricing
The Astra range starts from  €19,995. The SC starts from €24,495 for the 1.6 CDTi manual Start/Stop and the Elite starts from €26,995. Both cars came €30,695 and €23,245 respectively, including options.

Conclusion
Opel, I wouldn’t boast about winning the European Car of the Year award for too long. Volkswagen are onto you, you’ll be soon left in the rear view mirror.