The Opel Astra is one of Ireland's best selling family hatchbacks and that is no mean feat when you consider the quality of its latest rivals from Ford, Toyota, Peugeot, Citroen, Nissan, and VW to name but a few.
The Astra boasts a host of excellent very useful technologies normally only found on cars costing considerably more.
Entry to the Astra range kicks of at a very competitive €19,995. The model on test is the Astra SRi 5 door hatch powered by Opel’s new 1.0 litre petrol turbo.
You will certainly recognise it as an Astra the new style is all about evolution rather than revolution and that is no bad thing, its predecessor was a good looking car. The new car boasts more sleek lines with a more contemporary style which proves very attractive. The new 3 door is especially dramatic.
The interior is a huge improvement. The quality, specification and style is all better than before. The piano black trim, soft touch plastics and well engineered switchgear exude an air of real quality and class.
Specification is beefed up too on this version of the Astra. Standard equipment on the SRi includes air conditioning, cruise control, heated seats, heated steering wheel, Bluetooth, a very nice stereo system, front fog lights, LED daytime running lights, satellite navigation system with 8” colour monitor, Apple Car Play, sports-style front seats, leather covered multifunction steering wheel, Sports mode, tyre pressure monitoring, front and rear electric windows, 18” alloy wheels, and alarm.
Some new technologies as standard which really are worthy of mention are lane departure warning and assist, traffic sign recognition, following distance indicator, forward collision alert with autonomous emergency braking. The Astra also boasts OnStar Assist, which automatically requests emergency assistance in the event of an accident as well as many other features.
Accomadation is very good too. The Astra will seat four adults in comfort and the 370 litre boot can take a reasonable amount of luggage. The seats fold down to create a larger load area if required.
This Astra is powered by a new 1.0 litre petrol turbo mated to a 5-speed gearbox.
I found overall performance to be good and this power unit proves generally refined. Its no ball of fire taking almost 11 seconds to hit 100km from a standstill but once up and going it feels more lively than its on paper figures suggest.
Emissions are just 99g/km with this new engine so road tax is a lowly €180.00 per year. I returned 5.9 litres per 100km over my test drive and even better is possible with less mixed driving conditions so its frugal too!
The Astra SRi manages to combine a winning blend of good handling with a comfortable ride quality. The steering is nicely weighted and it tracks your chosen line with confidence whether on wet or dry roads.