25 Sept 2022

LAOIS MOTORING: Initial drive of the all-new Opel Astra and Grandland

LAOIS MOTORING: Initial drive of the all-new Opel Astra and Grandland

Opel Astra

Though most new car launches occur at the beginning of a new year this year has seen many new arrivals right throughout the year.

As the end of June approaches I have had the opportunity to have a brief intro to some interesting new models from a variety manufacturers but the focus of this weeks review is the new Opel Astra and Grandland.

The Irish launch of the new Astra and Grandland took place in Co Laois and gave Irish Motoring Journalists an opportunity to drive the new cars on Irish roads. First to the new Astra. I really like the new shape, this is a good looking car, while inside the new Astra is bang up to date with a new digital suite of instruments.

The quality of the new interior is an obvious step forward from its predecessor with a better looking and better quality feel throughout. This is the sixth generation of the Opel Astra, and is available in three grades, SC, SRI and Elite.

There is a 1.2 litre petrol with 130bhp, a 1.5 litre diesel, with 130bhp, and a 180bhp plug-in-hybrid. A fully electric Astra will hit our shores in 2023. Prices start from €27,995 for the Astra SC.

I drove the new Astra on a variety of roads in county Laois and initial impressions are of a very well sorted new car. The ride and handling is a nice blend between comfort and involving driving. The new Astra also proves rather quiet and refined and it feels spacious.

Hatchbacks have a hard job competing against the wrath of SUV’s and Crossovers these days so a new car such as the Astra needs to be very good to attract buyers away from the ever popular SUV.

The new Astra proves practical too with a 422 litre boot and split fold rear seats.
With a very good level of standard specification from the SC model up and an attractive range of new colours the new Astra is now once again a true rival for the ubiquitous VW Golf.

There are some 9,000 Astra models sold in Ireland and with this new car I have no doubt that some of those Astra buyers will make the move to this all new model but additionally I believe the new Astra will attract buyers from other brands such is the level of quality and purity of design o this new car.

While the Astra was the main focus of the press launch Opel also introduced us to the new Grandland.
Now to be fair unlike the Astra which is all new the Grandland is really a mid-life refresh with revised exterior styling to include the new Opel “Vizor” nose, additional exterior trim detailing and a revised cabin with the new Opel “Pure Panel” digital cockpit.

Again its available in three models, SC, Sri and Elite, with prices starting around €35,495 for the 1.2 petrol SC.

A brief drive gave me the opportunity to sample the new “Pure Cockpit” which works well, while on the road the revised Grandland is pretty much as before and that is to say rather good. The Grandland remains then a good al round SUV without setting the world alight.

The updates do bring it bang up to date with rivals and that will no doubt add to its ongoing appeal.

I will have a full road test review of both models in the coming weeks.

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