Opel Astra – The Trendsetting Hatch

The onset of the Great Recession in 2007 brought with it buckets full of misery to the world car market. Many nearly closed its doors and some, like General Motors, had to be bailed out by the American government. One of GM’s brands is Opel, which very nearly went to the automotive graveyard in the sky had it not been for fresh and innovative thinking on the part of the design and engineering teams to save the day.

 

Why is this model so important?

New-OpelAstra (8)The Astra is a core model for Opel and largely the reason why the brand ultimately survived. For a while GM South Africa contemplated halting marketing of the brand completely (remember that at the time the popular Opel Corsa Utility was rebranded a Chevrolet!) To ensure Opel stayed in the game, no plug was left un-pulled to put the brand back in consumers’ minds and on the sales charts, and while the rise was a slow and arduous one, Opel, and Astra specifically, is now arguably the trendsetting car in its class.

 

What does this mean?

The latest Astra boasts a range of powerful and economical engines, innovative interior design and driver interfaces, and styling and build quality that is the envy if its German rivals (VW Golf, BMW 1-Series and Merc A-Class). It is a world removed from Opel’s past, so much so that it was named Europe’s Car of the Year for 2016. There are few accolades that can trump that.

 

What’s the fuss about?

New-OpelAstra (4)Depending on model, advanced driver assistance features are either standard or an option. Think front and rear cameras with radar function, Traffic Sign Assist (reads road signs), Following Distance Indication, Headway Alert, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert with Collision Mitigation Braking function, Integrated Brake Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Side Blind Spot Alert, Advanced Park Assist and Rear-view camera, Cornering Brake Control, Cornering Torque Control  and Torque Vectoring by using the brakes, Electronic Drag Torque Control, automatic Brake Disc Cleaning, and IntelliLux LED matrix headlights to name but some items that has brought high-tech features that  have been the exclusive domain of the high-end luxury market to the mainstream hatch segment. All engines are turbo petrol and comprise capacities ranging from 1-litre (70kW/170Nm) to 1.4-litres (110kW/230Nm) and 1.6-litres (147kW/280Nm).

Click here to view road tests and news updates on the Opel Astra.

Click here for the average second-hand pricing & online availability.

 

 

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