The Opel Astra has been around for quite some time and has proven to be a success in our country. Last year I enjoyed a test drive of the Astra saloon, and I did find it to be impressive enough. So when the manufacturer offered me a chance to trial the Astra saloon with their new 1.6 litre diesel engine I jumped at the chance. The 1.7 litre diesel engine which was on offer was quiet the noisy thing, and considering the impressive range of new engines from Opel, I was intrigued.
One of the first things that struck me about this car is the size of it. Sure, it’s not as big as the Insignia, but the space that is available in it is surprisingly ample. And the boot is borderline incredible. I’ve mentioned my family a good number of times since I started writing for Car Buyers Guide. Forgive me for going on about them. My wife and I have two children, a five year old and a twenty month old. Any parent out there knows that kids have an incredible amount of stuff when you decide you have to go away for a weekend. We decided a trip to Donegal was in order, so I and my better half shared a suit case and then we proceeded to pack the kitchen sink for the kids. We brought clothes (plenty of changes!), nappies, monitors, bears, more clothes, toys, and then loads of more toys. I’m going on about this because the boot of the Astra was more than capable to hold all of this stuff. This actually surprised me. We even got the buggy in there - which, believe it or not won’t even fit into the empty boots of some of my test drives!
Inside is comfortable and has a nice layout. Sadly the model I was driving wasn’t equipped with Opel’s latest IntelliLink system, but I’m still a fan of their older infotainment offerings – I know it has lots of buttons, but that’s part of the fun. As always the air con is available within the Astra saloon, as is Bluetooth and some nice furniture choices. Cruise control was also included in the model I was driving and after driving such a long distance in this car I found myself yearning for the adaptive cruise control that Opel does so well in the Insignia.
Outside the Astra is a pretty nice looking car. It looks great in black, and I’m a bit surprised that I don't see more Astra saloon’s on our roads in general. The Astra isn't pushed too much these days due to the sheer amount of new technologies, models and engines that the manufacturer is launching. In the past I would have said that the Astra’s appearance was very similar to that of the Insignia – only smaller, but I don’t feel that’s the case anymore. I think this stands alone now in terms of style. It's lines run smoothly along the car giving it a dynamic and balanced appearance.
The new CDTi 1.6 litre, all-aluminium, engine is a nice enough performer with the model I was driving offering 136hp. It’s a quiet engine, fuel economical engine – giving me 6.3l/100km combined over 780 km journey, covering cities, country roads, motorways and straights. Now, this to me is a not a bad fuel consumption figure as I was not driving too economically while testing the car. Opel’s on-paper fuel consumption for this particular Astra is 3.9 litres/100km –or 72.4 mpg.
I took the Sligo road from Dublin to Donegal and I found it to be really solid on the straights to Ballyshannon. On the way back however I opted to take the winding roads of Fermanagh and Enniskillen and sadly the story was different. These roads tend to be bumpier and I feel I felt more than I should have here. In saying that I did feel the Astra gripped the road nicely and was well able for corners.
Take the Astra back on the motorways and dual carriageways though and it’s pretty seamless in terms of handling. Maximum torque is 320 Nm at 2,000rpm, and this model, according to Opel, offers 0-100kmh in 10.1 seconds with a top speed of 205 km/h.
The CBG.ie verdict
Overall I really like this car – it’s one that should demand more attention. It’s a good competitor to the Ford Focus and the Toyota Corolla.
Read more of our Opel reviews here.