Shortlist this one: Armstrongs
It’s been a while since the name “Astra” featured as an option in the New Zealand new car market.
Now it’s back, courtesy of Opel, Ben Selby reports, after his latest test drive.
The new Astra is made up of two models, the petrol SRi and GSe plug-in-hybrid. While the latter will be arriving later in the year, the SRi is available now with a start price of $49,990. Power comes from a 1.2L turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine producing 96kW and 230Nm of torque which is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Opel claim combined fuel consumption figures for the SRi of 5.1L/100km, which is pretty good for something without the inclusion of a hybrid powertrain.
Opel New Zealand says the new Astra “speaks for itself” and on the subject of funky modern styling, it certainly does that. I love the mix of black accents, clean cut lines and the addition of 18-inch diamond-cut alloys and that now familiar Opel visor front fascia. It’s a great looking hatch, especially this shade of Amber Yellow with a black roof.
Inside, the Astra has been filled to the brim with contemporary touches, reflecting the “Modern German” stance Opel has been showcasing since arriving in New Zealand.
The cabin feels refined, and there is plenty of comfort too. Dominating the dashboard is a 10-inch configurable digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Both screens also sort of blend
into one, which keeps things seamless and uncluttered.
There is plenty of onboard kit too, especially for this price point. The Astra SRi gets a heated steering wheel, heated black alcantara and leatherette seats, LED pixel headlights with high beam assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active safety brake, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, parking sensors all around, lane positioning assist, and a very clear 360-degree reversing camera.
I have always loved the sound of a triple cylinder engine, and the burble provided by the 1.2L turbo three pot provides that same sweet soundtrack. It’s a raspy and mechanical engine note, and whether low down or higher up in the rev range, it’s a rather nice reminder you are at the helm of a machine rather than a mere appliance.
That turbo unit also provides some relatively perky power delivery. Keep it in the low to mid-range and while you won’t be rearranging your fillings with immense acceleration, its keenness to get going is noticeable. It also feels remarkably balanced and rather playful when selecting sport mode. It’s no hot hatch but it still manages to entertain and whether one is trapsing through the urban jungle or the open road, the Astra is an ideal tool.
Despite the five-door premium hatch segment playing second fiddle to SUVs, the new Opel Astra SRi serves up plenty of zing and colour, making it worthy of your shortlist. There is plenty here to like.
– Funky Styling
– Great levels of equipment
– Eager powertrain
Azariah Likes (Ben Selby’s wife)
– Modern looks
– Use of buttons on the centre console
– Supportive seats
2023 Opel Astra SRi
Engine: 1.2L turbo three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Wheels: 18-inch Alloys