Off the mouse, the crises are over. At least in Rüsselsheim. At Opel you steam ahead at full throttle, you go forward again - keep your head up! The result of the good atmosphere in Rüsselsheim is an Opel Astra, the latest generation of which is closer to the king of the segment than ever before - or is the new ASTRA even the better car for the people?
Is Rüsselsheim finally beating Wolfsburg?
The new Astra, the best golf ever?
The fifth Opel Astra generation, the fifth attempt to knock the Volkswagen Golf off its pedestal. But not if Opel has its way, you just want to find yourself on the podium of the “3 best compact cars”. We took a closer look at the new Astra and found talents and skills that speak for a turning point. The new Astra could be the best Golf ever.
The design - the shorter one?
Design can be written nicely and it can be talked about badly. The fact is, the new Astra also heralds a change in philosophy. It is smaller than its predecessor, missing five centimeters in length, two centimeters missing in height and overall it looks significantly tighter. One would almost parrot the word “sehnig” to the designer.
The fact that the new Astra no longer has to play the platform for a convertible (Cascada) and also not for a van (Zafira) can be seen on the scales - and not just in the “perceived design”.
From the front, the optionally available Matrix-Led headlamps look extremely noble and valuable, the chrome clasp of the radiator grille connects both luminaires and makes the front appear wiry. At the roof, the designers in Rüsselsheim wanted to present the new luminosity of the vehicle. A fleeting chrome trim lets the roof float up and provides a new dynamic. On the C-pillar, a black screen gives the impression of a flying roof. The new Astra looks crooked, it looks sporty. Dynamic. Goal achieved.
The fact that a little Hyundai, a little Kia, a little BMW, a little “something” resonates, is a free gift!
The first impression counts and it is good. The Opel team has made a big leap in the design of the interior. The cockpit looks clear and tidy, and really functional. The button massacre around the radio and center console is over, and the king's fugue now looks like it was all of a piece. King fugue? Never heard? It describes the area between the dashboard and the door panel. The predecessor couldn't decide what he wanted to be in this area, sawtooth tiger or giant ravine. That is history now. Well done Opel.
The cockpit was given a chic full-width trim, a popular instrument in interior design to emphasize the width and make the room seem livelier. In the case of the new Opel Astra comes a dainty, slightly curved chrome trim. Not only does it look good, it looks good too!
Thanks to Apple Car Play and Android Auto, the modern multimedia display connects almost seamlessly with the own smartphone, and the high cockpit position ensures little distraction when looking at it.
The Rüsselsheim-based company distributed switches over the cockpit in a finely dosed manner and sorted them cleverly. So you can sit on the optional “AGR seats” (seats designed to ideally support the back). Nothing confused. Everything feels a class better than before! Even the hard plastic that is still used looks less cheap. You have to get it done first.
The rear loading hatch is wide, but the loading edge is a little too high - felt - and the loading space floor too deep. Water boxes are likely to remain in the car - but the first press vehicle probably had no shelf, on the edge of the paneling it looked as if there was space for an “mezzanine”. (In the summer temperatures during the presentation we forgot to clarify!)
Modern times - modern technology
The Opel Astra will be the first Opel to feature the new assistance system in series "Opel OnStar”Is delivered. It will also be the first compact to be available with a state-of-the-art matrix LED light. With this lighting technology, Opel plays a leading role in the compact segment. For the first time ever, there is a matrix LED light for this vehicle class.
And to join modern engines under the hood. From whispering diesel to turbo gasoline engine, sometimes with three, sometimes with four cylinders. A total of seven performance levels are available right from the start.
Opel is still silent for the alternative drives, hybrid, plug-in or even electric, but here it remains to be expected that nothing happens at first. For this purpose, the Rüsselsheim are trimmed too much at the expense and benefit.
Efficiency is a good keyword for the new Astra. With a very good cW value of 0.27, the new Astra can also be thrust through the wind economically on long-haul routes. The most fuel-efficient variant leaves it at 90 grams of CO² per kilometer.
The adaptive chassis is currently not in the surcharge lists, it remains to be seen whether this damper technology will be submitted later. A hybrid would also be an additional message towards the future and it would be astonishing that Opel would prefer an automatic converter in this class. But here a first test drive after the IAA will provide clarity! Then the “aha moments” in the engine area are missing. Yes, current engines, but where are the emotions? Is anyone still thinking of GSI and OPC?
At the end...
The new Astra looks “solid” and “German”. Pragmatic and sensible, in the interior it convinces with objectivity and concentration on the essentials. These are typical golf values. For the first time, the presentation of the new Astra is at the “height” of the golf era - however, in Rüsselsheim you will have to top it up quickly, with just one surprise hit you won't decide the whole battle!