A new era is beginning for the Opel Astra. Its 6th generation benefits in turn from the technological sharing of the Stellantis group. its move upmarket announced as spectacular.
Once installed in a somewhat firm seat, but with excellent support, the good impression left by this Astra does not weaken. And for good reason, we face a huge double screen well integrated into the dashboard. The display behind the steering wheel is simple, uncluttered and efficient. The central part, on the other hand, is responsive, easy to use and customizable just right. But the best part is that it dominates real buttons for all climate control settings. Heated seats, temperature and defrost are adjustable at the touch of a finger.
The rest of the cabin is well finished. We still have a few questions about the aging of certain materials in the center console, in particular the glossy black and the storage compartment flap. Note that these are very generous throughout the cabin and reach a total volume of 30 liters. Not bad. On the other hand, it will be necessary to put up with a habitability limited to the rear seats.
The driving position is excellent, road and wind noise are well subdued. Its damping also makes it very stable. Regardless of the engine selected, the thermal block is discreet at constant speed. Add to that a host of well-adjusted driving aids, light but precise steering, and swallowing the terminals on the highways becomes a formality.
A strong and modern design, taut lines where this black grille called “Vizor" obviously stands out. A grille introduced by OPEL for the first time on the Mokka II, and since then it has become a distinctive style of the brand at the Blitz. A grille that spans the entire width of the front end up to the L-shaped lights. The very fine lines in the middle and on the sides of the bonnet give this front end a lot of character.
From the strict point of view of road behavior, the Opel Astra has pleasant steering because it is not overly assisted and quite communicative. Certainly, and despite a firm upholstery it remains in the field of the bearable, but in this, the Opel Astra remains faithful to an Opel tradition moreover totally assumed by its parents.
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On board, if the Astra succeeds in imposing its own style, it is not without some sacrifices in the choice of materials, more classic, and some technological. The quality of manufacture has nevertheless evolved in the right direction. The Pure Panel, this curved 10-inch double screen (digital counter + touch screen) is also available as standard. A slab size that will not increase, even on high finishes, only the presentation is more polished with a unique panoramic screen effect connecting the two slabs. Everything is rather reactive, thanks to the partnership with Qualcomm, which has developed a system dedicated to on-board telematics using Snapdragon technology, the same type as in our most powerful smartphones. The Astra can be fitted with a head-up display, semi-autonomous driving or even ambient air purification. Opel has retained certain singularities, the seats certified by the AGR organization, for both the driver and the front passenger. And it's true that they are firm and tender at the same time, just enough to limit fatigue on long journeys. We would like them to have a little more lateral support, however. This concern for AGR-certified comfort is not found on the other hand at the level of the elbow rests of the doors, whose fabric is barely foamed.
Everything you need under the hood
At launch, the Astra features are diesel, petrol and plug-in hybrid engines. The 1.5 diesel of 130 hp and 300 Nm is not a thunderbolt, but it is torquey and does its job as a long-distance runner. In charge, it is a little heard in the passenger compartment. The story is similar with the three-cylinder 1.2 l turbo petrol engine which develops either 110 hp and 205 Nm or 130 hp and 230 Nm of torque. With the exception of the petrol small block, they can be paired with either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic. The first is a little soft while its stroke is long. The second once in motion, the gear changes are practically imperceptible.
Always good quality/price ratio
The new Astra is the model of choice for those who don't want too many geeks on board, but who still want to feel on board a modern vehicle. Opel knocks down one last asset, its price/equipment ratio.
The Opel Astra notably includes keyless start, the AGR driver's seat, the 180° reversing camera with front and rear parking assistance and the adaptive Drive Assist pack with stop/start in particular.