Opel Astra 1.6 Turbo in the top test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Opel Astra 1.6 Turbo
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Opel's youngest, the Astra, requires maximum concentration. At least if you want to send it a fair test report, as is usual with a uto motor und sport . Because when you hear the word Opel, your thoughts quickly wander to political and economic facts that have nothing to do with the quality of the car. And which may be outdated again tomorrow. So to the point.

The Opel Astra is more stylish than the VW Golf

The Opel Astra. Opel is not lucky enough to storm the charts with the same basic shape as the VW Golf. Which, on the other hand, allows greater freedom in design. The Opel Astra is therefore clearly more stylish than the number one in its class, modern in a way that is common in our time. That means a huge, far forward drawn windshield, which merges into the steeply sloping bonnet without any significant angle. As the little windows behind the A-pillars show, there is a portion of van in it.

Opel Astra with very good braking values ​​

In the brake tests the Opel Astra excellent values. What looks dynamic and streamlined, of course, also has disadvantages in practice. Anyone who takes a seat in the Opel Astra immediately sees that he cannot see anything. The front boundaries of the body cannot be seen even when the neck is clearly extended. It doesn't matter on the open road, as any Intercity Express driver will confirm. But in tight city situations one wonders why the dictation of design has to be so dominant in an everyday car. Especially since the coupé-like rear doesn't leave much more than a viewing slit on the opposite side, which the three rear headrests still cover for the most part.

The size of the Opel Astra is close to the BMW 3 Series

The inadequate visibility is all the more significant as the Opel Astra (the Opel Astra in the driving report) with its lush dimensions breaks the usual framework in the compact class. With a length of 4.42 meters, theOpel Astra closer to BMW 3er as on VW Alfa Romeo and rovers used to teach manners to powered rigid axles. The Watt construction now fulfills its task of ensuring precise wheel movement - i.e. in a straight line in the vertical direction - during compression, for the first time in a non-drive torsion beam axle such as the Opel Astra. And convincingly.

The Opel Astra lies like a board

Modern front-wheel drive cars are all characterized by unproblematic driving characteristics, but theOpel Astra actually lies like the proverbial board. Low body inclination and almost neutral self-steering behavior combine to provide the highest level of driving safety. It takes a violent driving error or a respectable high spirits to get him to the point that the soft and precise ESP puts an end to the escapades. The clean, responsive steering complements the good chassis properties. It makes the Opel Astra very handy and increases the driving pleasure that this car can offer. Simply because it looks so light-footed and predictable, even in the normal driver area, which is miles away from the extreme conditions of the driving tests. Even with relatively simple chassis technology, it is no art to build well-positioned cars. The trick is not to neglect comfort.

With the Flex-Ride system, there are three driving modes

On the Opel Astra Watt ensures that the wheel guidance does not force the suspension to be too hard. Press releases like to say that standards are being set. But you don't need to set them because they already are. As far as the swallowing capacity of its suspension is concerned, the Opel Astra can look at any comparisons in the eye. Under no circumstances does it bother its occupants, it rolls smoothly and digests unevenness in such a way that it does not lead to uncomfortable movements of the body. If you pay extra, you get the so-called flex ride system. It regulates the shock absorber hardness, whereby the driver can still choose between the modes Sport, Normal and Comfort. The differences are just so big that you can tell what you've spent money on. Sport is not rock hard, comfort is not overwhelmingly soft - the selection is therefore a matter of taste. The tester tends to use the comfort button, also because it makes the power assistance of the steering a little stronger - very pleasant in city traffic. Sport, on the other hand, makes the engine respond more snappy, which is not a fault. Because the most powerful gasoline engine available in the test car is not a sports fanatic.

Opel Astra with consumption that is too high

Its rated output of 180 hp is hard to believe at first. Which is also due to the fact that, thanks to turbo diesels, we are so spoiled by torque. And with that, the 1.6-liter Otto can not keep up despite turbocharging. Regardless of its high liter output, it remains a perfectly good four-cylinder, cultivated down below, grumpy at high speeds. And not as economical as one would like. Only on the extremely economical consumption lap is it possible to achieve the ECE third-mix consumption. In practice, the Opel Astra swallows significantly more - test consumption 9.1 liters /100 km. The 1.6-liter turbo is certainly not the first choice among the nine Opel Astra engines currently available. But it provides one of the most weighty reasons why it didn't get a top rating in the testenough.

However, since the individual buttons are sufficiently large and clearly labeled, correct operation is no longer a problem after a short time.

Opel Astra with insufficient operating perfection

On the positive side, the clear screen graphics of the optional navigation system and the generally very low operating forces are also to be noted. The central rotary push button, on the other hand, takes getting used to. Anyone who presses to confirm has already done it wrong. You cannot press the entire button, only the narrow chrome rim around it. You need two fingers to use it. The four-way rocker integrated in the enter button is only used to control seldom used secondary functions.

The fact that practical requirements definitely played a role in the design are proven by the available aux and USB connections that allow access to the data stored on the iPhone. The buttons on the steering wheel, which can be used to control the standard cruise control, the radio volume and the telephone, are immediately understandable. Nevertheless: With a completely new car, you can expect more operating perfection.

This version has the lowest basic price behind the Renault Mégane, but in return the rivals compared here have better equipment.

Opel Astra has three percent more depreciation than the VW Golf

The Opel Astra also cuts in terms of financing due to the low base price well, as is shown by the example of the classic installment loan via the manufacturer banks. With a down payment of 20 percent and a term of 36 months, only the loan for the Mégane keeps up. When it comes to operating costs, the Opel Astra is competitive, and when it comes to vehicle tax, it even takes one of the top positions.

But the customer saves a lot of money, especially when it comes to insurance expenses. The difference is up to 25 percent. The bottom line is that the Opel Astra loses around three percent more than the market leader VW Golf in 36 months when it comes to depreciation. Even in connection with the highest maintenance costs in this comparison, the new compact car remains at the top in terms of maintenance. All in all, customers spend up to eleven percent less per month on the Opel Astra with the 115 hp engine compared to the competition.

However, the dictates of the designer have functional deficiencies. Above all, the unsatisfactory clarity of the body, a feature that the Opel Astra has in common with many of its competitors in the compact class.

The Opel Astra only offers more space at the front

A parking aid is on the option list. The fact that the Astra, which has grown considerably compared to its predecessor, clearly exceeds the usual body dimensions in this segment, makes the handling inCity situations where every centimeter counts, not easier. The increase in body length does not have the expected positive effect on the space available. There is ample freedom of movement in the front, but in the rear the Opel Astra offers nothing more than what is usual in its class. The back seat is designed for two people, in the middle there is only a hard padded area that can only be expected of a third passenger on short journeys.

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