Opel Astra: Star of 2016 Euro Coty now shines in SA

  • One-litre, new 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre turbo engines
  • ‘Class-leading’ driver-assistance and crash-protection
  • Each can top 200km/h where safe to do so
2016 Opel Astra launched in SA
SHORTER AND LOWER, FASTER AND BETTER EQUIPPED: This is the 2016 Opel Astra that will be in showrooms on Friday (April 15). Image: Opel / Quickpic

Opel’s award-winning eleventh-generation Astra, 2016 European Car of the Year, has been launched in South African and will be in showrooms from Friday (April 15).

The four-door hatchback – where once there was a hatch and a sedan – was, Opel says, engineered to meet personal mobility needs on “a densely populated planet with finite resources”.

Very noble, that.

Opel says its target was to produce the most efficient, lightest, best-connected and safest of automobiles this way:

  • Up to 200kg lighter overall (depends on model) with a 20% weight saving from the shell and paring mass off, for instance, exhausts and seats.
  • Up to 200kg lighter overall (depends on model) with a 20% weight saving from the shell and paring mUsing three small-capacity but turbocharged direct- injection Ecotec engines and features such as stop/start across the range.
  • Making the shell significantly more aerodynamic than its predecessor and rivals with a Cd of only 0.285 (was 0.32).
  • Shrinking – length down by five cm, height by half that – while creating more cabin space – rear legroom, front headroom, front-to-rear hip point greater.
2016 Opel Astra launched in SA
TOTALLY NEW ‘FACE’: The 2016 Opel Astra, European Car of the Year, gives the impression that it is wider than the previous model with its whole redesign. Image: Opel / Quickpic

The most significant design cue is the divided “blacked-out” C pillar that creates the impression of a floating roof but Opel believes the overall design delivers the Astra’s key messages: leaner, lighter, more efficient, dynamic.

The all-new interior, Opel says, “is a yardstick for compact-class design”. Switches and controls have been reduced to the minimum with the centrepiece an award-winning IntelliLink system. Seats in Sport models have power adjustment and heatable front and rear leather seats.

The speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering is electrically rather then hydraulically assisted and can compensate for road-camber drift. The column offers 30mm reach and 25mm rake adjustment.

IT’S A ONE-LITRE – BUT READ ON BEFORE YOU LAUGH

Opel will have introduced 17 new engines by 2018, among them the three in the new Astra – of which at least one would have drawn hoots of laughter from Opel fans 25 years ago… a three-cylinder one-litre. The laugh today would be on them: this little turbocharged guy produces 77kW at 4500rpm and 170Nm from 1800rpm and appears in Essentia and Enjoy models with a five-speed manual gearbox.


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Fuel consumption is listed as 4.3 litres/100km and the one-litre would blow away those hot Astras of the 1980’s – they can make 200km/h!

Five-speed manual and six-speed auto gearboxes are offered variously across the range, of which the other two use a new 1.4 turbo and a 1.6 turbo.

2016 Opel Astra launched in SA
FOUR-DOOR WITH A HATCH: It’s Generation XI (that’s eleven for those who can’t read Roman numerals) and, given engine sizes, it has to be the best performer yet. Image: Opel / Quickpic

The four-cylinder 1.4 Turbo Ecotec will be available in Enjoy and Sport models and pack 110kW at 5000rpm and 230Nm from 2000-4000 rpm for the manual and 245Nm in the same rev range for the auto.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are listed as 5.1 litres/100km and 117g/km for the manual and 5.5/100 and 127g/km for the auto. Of course it’s faster than the 1.4 – how about 0-100km/h in 8.5sec and 215km/h?

The biggest engine is the 1.6 Turbo Ecotec capable of 147kW/280Nm (300Nm on overboost), 235km/h, 6.1 litres/100km, a seven-second 0-100 and 235km/h.

A front camera manages the car’s IntelliLux diode lights (1.6T Sport option), traffic sign recognition, lane-departure prevention, following distance maintenance, potential collision alerts and low-speed auto braking.

ASTRA MAKES SURE YOU’LL HIT THE SACK

A rear camera is also available for parking. Over that, the new Astra range can identify potential parking slots and park the car automatically – though the driver must operate the throttle.

Astra engineers took a three-part approach for the standard crash-bag system: front for driver and front passenger, thorax-pelvis side bags and full-length curtain bags for the first and second row.

2016 Opel Astra launched in SA
RIDE SAFE: The 2016 Opel Astra just launched in SA has a huge menu of crash-protection and mitigation technology. Oh, and some models can park themselves, too. Image: Opel / Quickpic 

Other driving and crash injury mitigation features include:

  • Anti-lock brakes and traction control
  • Electronic brake-pressure distribution control
  • Cornering brake control to promote stability and understeering counterbalancing by braking
  • Brake-disc cleaning which periodically removes contamination by applying very light pressure to the pads – especially handy in rain
  • Trailer stability control when an Opel-approved towball is fitted

Also making its debut is Opel’s R4.0 IntelliLink infotainment system which comes with smartphone connectivity and apps for Android 5.0 Lollipop and Apple iOS 8 and higher.

2016 Opel Astra launched in SA
TOUCHSCREEN TECH: The higher you go up the model range, the more sophisticated the system will become. Image: Opel / Quickpic

All IntelliLink systems come with Bluetooth, audio streaming, aux-in, USB ports and DAB+ radio. Navi 900 IntelliLink is an option on Sport models and the systems offer great personalisation – the home screen can be tailored according to preferences. Up to 60 favourite radio stations, phone contacts, artists, playlists and navigation destinations can be stored.

2016 Opel Astra models and prices
1.0T Essentia – R254 000
1.0T Enjoy – R284 300
1.4T Enjoy – R328 000
1.4T Enjoy a/t – R338 000
1.4T Sport – R354 000
1.4T Sport a/t – R374 000
1.6T Sport – R387 000
1.6T Sport PLUS – R407 000

Option packs
Astra Hatch Enjoy driving assistance (Opel Eye front camera system) – R6300
Astra Hatch Essentia R 4.0 IntelliLink – R4000
Astra Hatch Sport Navi 900 IntelliLink – R10 700

2016 Opel Astra launched in SA
SLEEK, SVELTE AND SEXY: The 2016 Opel Astra just launched in SA   Image; Opel / Quickpic
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