The new Opel Astra hatchback is already familiar in theory – so it’s time to check it out in practice: take a test drive and share your impressions. Ah, stop! The headline says it all – the new Opel Astra perfectly combines German order and French comfort. That’s to put it briefly. And if you go into detail, here is the full review below.

Design: Opel Vizor on the outside and Opel Pure Panel on the inside

See the familiar terms? It’s not surprising – these are the design solutions that are now characteristic of all new Opel models. There are cases when existing cars have to be adapted to a new design and it turns out to be “so-so”: an example is the Opel Grandland, which was originally designed for a completely different design and interior. But there are also the opposite cases: when a car is immediately painted to match a new style, it looks very coherent and original. And one of the best examples of this is the Opel Astra.

Just take a look at the overall proportions and shapes of the body – with a distinctive hood and roof supported by chamfered pillars. Notice the flat grille that combines the headlights and the logo. Or take a closer look at the common element of the front and rear optics: it looks like the letter “G” or a lightning bolt. Even the imitation of the ventilation holes near the rear doors is interesting: it resembles the classic Opel Kadett models of the 1980s. The new Opel Astra looks fresh and at the same time does not hesitate to recall the history of its own brand.

Modern hatchback Opel Astra is a typical representative of the European C-Class: length – 4.37 meters; width – 1.86 meters; height – 1.44 meters; wheelbase – 2.675 meters. The main element of the exterior is the front part of the Opel Vizor; although there are many other interesting details in the exterior: thin sharp “notches” in the headlights and lights, a hint of ventilation holes on the rear roof pillars, black and silver wheels.

However, we will leave the impressions of the test drive for later, and now I suggest paying attention to the interior. It is made according to the Opel Pure Panel concept, which means maximum visual “clearing” of space and the use of combined displays. The idea works: there are really no unnecessary details around the driver and passengers, everything is “marked” with large areas and surfaces.

Usually, this effect is achieved by minimizing the number of buttons and moving all the controls inside the displays. However, the designers of the Opel Astra’s interior have successfully maintained a balance between stylistic “cleaning” of surfaces and ease of use. I’m talking about the controls under the center display: climate and heating controls, audio system volume, return to the multimedia system home page, and quick access to vehicle settings. Only what you need – but always at hand. And for fans of “fine-tuning everything and anything”, a deep menu of the multimedia system is provided.

If only one of these “interior geniuses” had been sent to design the center console, because there is glossy plastic everywhere, too much of it, and in the area of constant contact with the palms of your hands. Or the geniuses should have been sent to the design area of the rear of the cabin, because it turned out to be cramped. Everything seems to correspond to the dimensions of a typical C-Class, as if you can’t “overclock” with this type of body, but you still want more legroom and headroom.

The front part of the cabin is beautiful: the balance between attractive design and ease of use is well struck, and the comfortable AGR seats proved to be excellent on a long journey. The displays offer a high-quality picture and wide customization options. Probably the only criticism is the large area of glossy plastic, but it’s just a nuance. But a more significant and weighty remark concerns the space behind: there is “enough” space for adults, but only on the verge of being minimal. The trunk offers a rectangular shape and a flat floor, but it also does not differ in extraordinary volume: we have 422 liters of useful space with the standard rear seat position.

Equipment: EMR2 platform, gasoline or diesel, always automatic

The Opel Astra is built on the EMR2 platform, which is also common to many models of Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, DS and others. It uses independent front suspension and semi-dependent rear suspension, as well as front-wheel drive. In general, everything looks standard for a typical European C-class. Similarly, the engines offered in Ukraine are either a 1.2 PureTech gasoline turbo engine (130 hp and 230 Nm) paired with an 8-speed Aisin automatic transmission or a 1.5 BlueHDi turbodiesel engine (130 hp and 300 Nm) paired with an 8-speed Aisin automatic transmission.

In fact, there are many more interesting options in the European Opel Astra model range. For example, the Opel Astra Sports Tourer wagon with an extended wheelbase and body length. Or a powerful 180-horsepower PHEV hybrid and even a “heated” 225-horsepower PHEV version of the Opel Astra GSe. Or the all-electric version of the Opel Astra Electric. Moreover, hybrid, sports, electric versions can freely intersect with two bodies – hatchback or station wagon.

Here we can once again mention the Opel Grandland crossover: we have the familiar EMR2 platform and a 1.5-liter DV5 series turbodiesel engine. By the way, the latter can be found under the hoods of other cars as well: various logos and designations give it away. The GSe sports version, the station wagon, plug-in hybrids – all of these have not yet reached us, but I hope to see the list of Opel Astra versions for Ukraine expanded in the future.

Behind the wheel: comfortable movement, mild character – or vice versa

Excellent suspension comfort! This is what I remember most about the character of the Opel Astra: it gently overcomes the next pits and bumps, successfully rounds the sharp edges of all protrusions, and literally dissolves bad roads. I’m sure that the aforementioned wheels and tires are to be thanked for this. However, the car’s suspension also works well. At the same time, the Opel Astra hatchback does not frighten you with rolls in the corners. After all, in the equation “soft suspension + sharp turn” you need to add another nuance – a low and flat body.

This whole thing with the relatively low body (it’s a hatchback, not a crossover, after all) has affected not only the feeling of spaciousness in the rear, but also the feeling behind the wheel. In addition, add in the rather large wheelbase – about 1.55-1.56 meters in front and rear. The result? The car “stands” well on the road and holds on in corners, it is not prone to wear/skid and does not frighten with rolls, while offering good comfort and softness of movement.

Perhaps the word “gentleness” describes the character of the Opel Astra in general. Yes, the turbo diesel does not impress with a lively start from a standstill, but it gives excellent acceleration. The traditional hydromechanical 8-speed automatic does not surprise with instantaneous shifting speed, as modern robots can do, but it always guarantees smooth gear changes. In short: the new Opel Astra hatchback is like a relaxation car.

The small 1.5-liter turbo diesel engine and 8-speed automatic set you up for a relaxed driving experience – and the comfortable suspension matches this perfectly. But if you wish, the Opel Astra hatchback can also change its character a bit thanks to the choice of driving modes. Moreover, the actual measurement of dynamics pleasantly “overlaps” the manufacturer’s promise: we have 11.2-11.5 seconds against the promised 12 seconds. However, fuel consumption is also different. In the city, the manufacturer claims 4.5 liters per 100 km – and I consistently got 6-7-7.5 liters; although this is still not much. On the highway, I get even less: 3.8 liters are promised – and I can confirm this with my own observations and indicators of 3.5-4 liters at speeds of about a hundred.

Cost: how much does the Opel Astra cost and let’s mention competitors

A year ago, the Opel Astra was launched in Ukraine in four versions – the intersection of two engines and two trim levels – but now there are only a couple of them left: either the PureTech gasoline engine and the starting version, or the BlueHDi turbodiesel engine and the maximum trim level. For some, this may be a disadvantage, for others it will be a plus – because it simplifies the “either/or” choice.

The model range is opened by the Opel Astra 1.2 PureTech 130 AT8 Edition version starting at UAH 970 thousand or about $26 thousand. Despite the “starter kit” status, the level of specification is actually very good: Stabilization system, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, emergency braking system, cruise control, six airbags/curtain airbags, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, AGR driver’s seat, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, MOVA fabric trim, Pure Panel interior with two 10-inch displays, EcoLED headlights and high beam assistant, 16-inch alloy wheels, etc.

The next option is the Opel Astra 1.5 BlueHDi 130 AT8 Elegance In addition to the engine change, the equipment has also been expanded: adaptive cruise, driver fatigue recognition, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, atmospheric interior contour lighting, 180-degree rearview camera, IVO ALCANTARA trim, Pure Panel Pro interior with glass dashboard, etc.

The test car was presented in the maximum configuration and with several additional options. The maximum equipment already includes AGR seats not only for the driver, but also for the front passenger; the beautifully attractive gray and white ALCANTARA trim, separate dual-zone climate control, and various driver assistance systems. At the same time, even for the maximum configuration, mirror blind spot monitoring is offered as an optional extra, and the air quality control system, INTELLILUX LED matrix headlights, metallic paint and contrasting black roof are paid options. Thus, an Opel Astra car can add about 80 thousand UAH – its maximum cost can reach almost 1.18 million UAH or $31.5 thousand.

If you need a more affordable C-class hatchback, you can look at the Hyundai i30 and KIA Ceed: they offer only a gasoline engine and simpler technology, but have a wagon body in the Ukrainian range. On the flip side, there are high-end European models of Volkswagen Golf and Peugeot 308: state-of-the-art technology, attractive interiors, but the cost can be higher.

In addition, I would add the so-called “alternative competitors” to the list. For example, the more affordable Citroen C4: it is built on a lower-class platform, but its overall dimensions are trying to reach the C-class. Or we can mention the compact crossover Suzuki S-Cross in the front-wheel drive version: a simple interior and no cutting-edge technology, but a powerful gasoline engine and ground clearance will not be superfluous. I would also mention the minivan Honda Jazz: small outside, spacious inside, a very economical hybrid, and priced at the level of the Opel Astra in the maximum configuration. So it turns out that the choice of direct competitors to the C-Class is small, but if you look around, you will find other alternatives.

Opel Astra test drive results

So what does the new Opel Astra hatchback offer? Firstly, the car offers German order: the exterior design is drawn to the line; the interior is designed in the style of “everything is clear – just get in and drive”; the logic of the version offer simplifies the selection process. Secondly, the car offers French comfort: this statement is most evident in the suspension, but it is also felt in the overall ease of handling and behavior of the car.

Here’s how interesting it turns out – the new Opel Astra hatchback combines two of Europe’s largest C-class car design schools. Does this make it the best car in the segment? Don’t rush to answer that question, because (spoiler alert!) soon you will have another test drive of a similar and at the same time very original and interesting car.

Opel Astra NEW test drive: German order, French comfort

The car was provided bythe Opel Representative Office in Ukraine