New Astra - smaller but roomier and prices will be 'close' to current model
First Look: Opel Astra
OPEL's new Astra is due here in October as first images show it to be shorter, lower and lighter than the current one.
I'm told Irish pricing will not be far off the current one which starts at €20,195 for the 1.4-litre petrol and €22,495 for the 1.6-litre diesel.
The new family motor will debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September before going on sale.
I think it's fair to say there is a sense they are trying to move this small-family motor more upmarket.
There's a much sharper look to it at the front, while the back is rounder.
Along with a 5dr hatchback, there will reportedly be a 3dr coupe and estate but I see no mention of a saloon yet - that's a pity considering how well the current one looks and performs.
In the cabin there is a large touchscreen infotainment system, multi-function steering wheel and Corsa-like instrument cluster display.
There is a new generation IntelliLink system which is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This lets you use your smartphone as part of the system.
It is also the first new Opel with its OnStar system which includes alerts if something goes wrong and advisers who contact the car/driver to see if help is required.
New engines and transmissions should make a big difference to how it drives and performs especially as they have managed to lose between 120kg and 200kg in weight on the current car.
As many as 13 engines, petrol and diesel, are expected to be up and running with the new model.
Among them will be the 1-litre, 3cyl turbo petrol (114bhp) which we know well from the Corsa and Adam.
As well as that there is the new 1.4-litre turbo petrol which sounds really interesting.
Overall, petrols and diesels range in power from 95bhp to 200bhp. The new 6spd manual gearbox is expected to make a big difference too.
While the car is smaller outside they say it is larger within. Despite the wheelbase being 2cm shorter, there is 35mm more rear legroom, Opel claim.
Among new developments will be full-LED matrix lights which mean glare-free high beams. And there will be a range of safety systems such as Traffic Sign Assistant, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert etc. No car is complete without such a menu these days.
The seats are interesting too in that they were tested and certified by AGR (Campaign for Healthy Backs).
Now the challenge for Opel is to put more bums on those seats.