New Astra sedan is best yet from Opel

The new Opel Astra 1.6 Turbo Cosmo sedan is a far cry from the Opels of 10 years ago

Bobby Cheetham

IS this the best Opel Astra sedan yet? After spending some time with the Astra over the festive season, we came away very impressed!

The test vehicle, the top of the range Astra 1.6 Turbo Cosmo sedan comes with a smooth and powerful 132 kW turbocharged petrol engine.

This Ecotec engine delivers the available 132kW at 5500rpm and 230Nm of torque at 2200rpm.

These figures are enough for world class performance, the engine delivering a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 8.7 seconds and a top speed of 223km/h – remarkable figures for a 1.6 litre engine.

In addition to the sporty driving dynamics, fuel efficiency remains key to the 1.6 Turbo Cosmo model, with carbon emissions and average fuel economy on the combined cycle balancing the equation perfectly – 159g/km and 6.8-litres per 100km.

Why do we say that this may be the best Astra yet?

Take the interior, for interest sake – it’s a far cry from the models of 10 years back.

The interior then had a cheap and nasty appearance with very little appeal.

Fit and finish both inside and out left a lot to be desired when compared to other competitors in this segment.

Now, the new Astra is on a par with the other German quality cars, and is in fact better value for money.

The new sedan boasts a beautiful and ergonomically-sound interior. With either cloth or leather upholstery available, depending on the model, all derivatives benefit from a solid, upmarket cabin with quality materials used in all areas.

Specific touch points feature soft-touch finishes as well, with highlights in a dark pearl or liquid palladium and piano black finish and, in the rage-topping model, complementary red ambient lighting.

Switchgear is finished in a tactile and durable matt coating, also affecting quality and durability.

The sweeping arc of the dashboard plays host to the Astra sedan’s dials – each of which is housed in its own pod and is well-lit and easy to read, directed straight towards the driver.

The new Astra sedan also boasts a generous 460 litres of luggage space (up by 90 compared to the hatch) with the seats up, meaning that even the most over-packed family holiday can become a comfortable reality.

Or indeed that the Astra sedan can double as a utility vehicle, with a total of 1010 litres of cargo volume available when the rear seats are folded forward.

On the open road the Astra runs, and handles, like a dream. There is bags of power to safely overtake at the legal limit and beyond.

Handling as well as stopping capability are excellent.

All models in the new Opel Astra range come standard with a five-year/ 120000km warranty and a five-year/ 90000km service plan with service intervals of 15000km. Priced at R284500, the Astra 1.6 Turbo Cosmo sedan is a serious competitor for the other luxury German makes.

The Astra in my books is the best model yet from Opel. They have come a long way in the last 10 years!