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Like a red diamond, Opels are attenuate in the U.S., hidden from appearance beneath Saturn badges (and today as Buicks). In Europe they’re as accepted as cats, however, and the all-new 2016 Opel Astra may accomplish them alike added so. The car isn’t appointed to accomplish its accessible admission until the biennial Frankfurt Motor Appearance that will accessible its doors abutting month, but Digital Trends afresh got an absolute attending at it at an accident captivated in Paris, France.
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The Astra and its predecessor, the Kadett, accept been the courage of the Opel cast for decades, and the new archetypal is a monumentally important car for the General Motors-owned automaker. The mission account accustomed to engineers and designers was simple: the new Astra needs to put Opel aback on top of Europe’s advantageous bunched segment.
In Europe, the Astra primarily squares off adjoin ancestors hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf, the Ford Focus, the Renault Mégane, and the Peugeot 308. Engineers collection all four cars back-to-back and chose to criterion the Astra adjoin the one they acquainted was the best activating to drive. As it turns out, that account went to one cutting a dejected egg-shaped emblem.
The new Opel Astra rides on the above belvedere as the 2016 Chevrolet Volt and the Cruze.
The aftermost Astra was congenital on the above basal automated anatomy as the Zafira people-mover, so it was heavy, aloof to drive, and not actual ammunition able — and Opel is able-bodied acquainted of those facts. Consequently, the new Astra shares its anatomy (called D2XX in General Motors-speak) with both the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze and the Volt. The anatomy is awful modular and, as a result, engineers were able to accomplish the auto about two inches beneath than the last-gen model. Switching to the D2XX anatomy additionally helped Opel accord the auto a much-improved 60/40 front/rear weight administration while atom a absolute of 440 pounds. That’s a lot of weight for a car that tips the calibration at about 2,800 pounds.
Uwe Mueller, the artist in allegation of cartoon the Astra, told me that he gave his aggregation bristles capital tasks.
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“I asked them to accent the car’s width, to accord it a cleaner silhouette, to accomplish it added aerodynamic, to advance visibility, and to accomplish it added ample in animosity of the bargain dimensions.”
The new archetypal is instantly apparent both as a affiliate of the Opel ancestors and as an Astra, but its architecture is clearly bluff and characterized by a added grille that stretches into the headlights, added sculpted ancillary panels, and a blacked-out C-pillar that creates the apparition of a amphibian roof.
A base wagon adaptation of the Astra is all but confirmed, and I wouldn’t be afraid to see it in the metal abutting year at the Geneva Motor Show. But the approaching looks a lot dimmer for the glassy three-door Astra GTC. The accepted archetypal will be re-christened as the GTC and it will soldier on for a few added months, but Opel accepted that a backup will never see the ablaze of day.
“Of advance architecture a three-door Astra is possible, but it’s difficult for us to accomplish a favorable business case for such a archetypal appropriate now. The three-door bazaar is declining, there isn’t abundant demand. It won’t happen,” explained Horst Bormann, the architect in allegation of the aggregation that developed the new Astra.
The centermost animate in the approachable Astra was generally criticized for activity like it had added buttons than the cockpit of an Airbus A380. Muller asked his aggregation to acutely abate the cardinal of buttons, switches, and knobs in adjustment to accord the new archetypal a added automated and convenient dashboard.
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The aggregate of the switchgear is now disconnected into three clusters. The entertainment, navigation, and connectivity functions are accessed via a large, high-resolution blow awning that runs the latest bearing of Opel’s IntelliLink infotainment system. Climate ascendancy buttons are neatly aggregate appropriate beneath the screen, and all driving-related buttons (such as the ones that about-face on the alternative action approach and the assorted cyberbanking active aids) accept been re-located in advanced of the shifter. As a result, you feel instantly at home as anon as you sit in the driver’s seat, and you can calmly access an abode into the aeronautics arrangement afterwards accepting to ask your commuter to whip out the owner’s manual.
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
The Astra ushers in the European adaptation of OnStar, a account that has been accessible in the United States for about 20 years, and – aloof like abounding GM cars awash on our shores – you can add a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Additionally, it’s one of the aboriginal cars in Europe that’s accordant with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
At launch, the Astra will be accessible with a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder agent that makes 105 application at 5,500 rpm and 125 foot-pounds of torque from 1,800 to 4,250 rpm. That ability not complete like a lot of balance in the canicule of 278-horsepower Honda Accords, but it’s par for the advance for a almost baby car whose capital bazaar is Europe. Like the Corsa and the Adam, the amateur comes accepted with a five-speed chiral chiral that spins the advanced wheels, and it can be ordered with a five-speed semi-automatic assemblage as an option.
A amalgam isn’t in the works, but the Astra will spawn Opel’s aboriginal all-electric vehicle.
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Buyers afterwards added balance can footfall up to a new 1.4-liter EcoTec four-banger accessible with either 125 or 150 horsepower. Essentially an change of the above amateur adapted with an added cylinder, the turbo four is alone affiliated to a six-speed chiral transmission.
Sales abstracts appearance that a majority of buyers in Europe are afterwards a frugal turbo-diesel engine. Opel delivers with 1.6-liter four-cylinder offered with 95, 110, or 136 horsepower. All engines address with a chiral transmission, and barter who opt for the bigger assemblage can go clutch-less at an added cost.
The ability champ of the calendar is the 110-horsepower oil-burner, which allotment 56 mpg in a alloyed European cycle. At the added end of the spectrum, the 150-horsepower EcoTec allows the Astra to accomplish the criterion zero-to-100-kilometers per hour (about 62 mph) dart in 8.5 seconds, authoritative it the fastest affiliate of the family. However, Bormann proudly acicular out that a twin-turbocharged agent will annular out the calendar in the not-too-distant future, and that the advanced arbor can be adapted with GM’s oft-lauded HiPer Strut suspension, an addition advised to advance handling.
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
A gasoline-electric amalgam archetypal isn’t in the works, but Bormann appear that the belvedere will eventually spawn Opel’s aboriginal all-electric vehicle. Details about it are around non-existent because it’s still at the beginning date of development, but the architect accepted that it will alter the Volt-based Ampera amalgam in the Opel lineup.
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On paper, the new Opel Astra comes off as a above advance over its antecedent because it auspiciously blends European active dynamics with a abounding apartment of in-car tech gleaned from Chevrolet and Buick. It can absolutely allocution the talk, but it will be absorbing to see if it can airing the airing back it begins to access on banker lots beyond Europe this fall.
The Astra will not be awash in the United States, at atomic not as a auto and not with an Opel adumbration on the grille. However, it will spawn the abutting bearing of the Buick Verano that’s accepted to access in time for the 2017 archetypal year, and the turbocharged 1.4-liter EcoTec will ability added than a scattering GM archetypal in North America.
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