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Sedan brings more zest to Astra line-up


PURCHASING a sedan usually has its drawbacks, particularly in the styling department. The cost of having a booty added to your hatchback often leaves the car looking boxy, like a retired runway model that just discovered the cookie jar.

Luckily, despite the Opel Astra sedan gaining 230mm over its unbooted sibling, it still manages to maintain its smooth form and its detailed rear complements the overall styling, which has always had an aggressive stance.

When I drove the new Astra a few years ago, I was impressed with the overall look and feel and the sedan really does build from that. It’s nicely done on the styling front, but as we know it’s not always about looks and thankfully it’s not the only thing the Astra has going for it.

Under the skin, our test mule - the 1.6 Turbo Cosmo - housed a silky smooth 132kW turbocharged engine with 230Nm of torque at the stomp of a pedal. The 0-100km/h sprint takes 8.7 seconds and it will go on to reach a top speed of 223km/h.
The figures are certainly something to smile about, but what’s more impressive is the car’s lack of thirst, sipping just 6.8 litres/100km combined with 159g/km of carbon emissions.

It’s the kind of car that appeals to my inner rep and salesman. There’s nothing too bland about it and it produces a comfortable and relatively engaging drive, but what you can’t dispute is the practicality and space the added boot affords the Astra.
Luggage space in the sedan is 460 litres (up by 90 litres over the hatch) and the cabin can seat four adults comfortably. What is slightly annoying is the fact that the boot doesn’t have a latch at the rear; you have to open it via the key fob or the button located on the dash.

Furthermore, while the car’s interior is ergonomically well laid out with a very driver-focused cockpit, the infotainment system is beginning to show signs of aging and you do start to feel that an LCD screen would be a nice touch to complement all the creature comforts, which include USB and auxiliary ports, heated seats and cruise control to name but a few.

That said, the current infotainment system is a breeze to work, particularly via the multi-function steering wheel.
Safety has always been high on Opel’s agenda and the Astra benefits from class-leading aids, which earned the car a five-star Euro NCAP rating. Some of the safety features include ESP, brake discs all-round, ABS with EBD and BAS, cornering brake and torque control as well as six airbags and Isofix child seat anchors.

It’s a complete car that ticks all the boxes, exactly what Opel needs in a segment dominated by the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai’s Elantra. But with the imminent arrival of the new Corolla and the Astra sporting a pricey purchase tag, the German brand might have its work cut out in trying to lure new buyers.


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