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The facelifted Opel Astra has gained a new drivetrain that raises its competency as an everyday commuter.

25 Sep 2020


Looking for a hatchback but want a little more power than the 118bhp offered by the Mazda3 or the 123bhp offered by the 1.4-litre Volkswagen Golf?

Well you're in luck, because Auto Germany now offers the refreshed Opel Astra. Sporting a new 1.4-litre turbocharged three-cylinder, the engine delivers a total of 143bhp which is now paired to a new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

First things first

143bhp and 236Nm of torque from the new 1.4-litre makes overtaking in the Astra effortless
Don't scoff.

It may be a CVT by name but it's all new from Opel and it sure feels like it. The engine drone that CVTs are notorious for is practically absent in the Astra, save for the most demanding of driving situations.

And it's not as if you'll be straining the engine for extended periods as well, as the car is now only 1,270kg heavy, with 236Nm of torque from the engine allowing it to complete the century sprint in 9.9 seconds, splitting it between the Mazda3's 11.9 seconds and the Golf's 9.1-second sprint times respectively.

To drive, the Opel Astra feels properly light on its feet, thanks to all that torque being available from just 1,500rpm. Overtaking at speed is done effortlessly and the car delivers enough responsiveness to make it an easy drive, even in start-stop traffic. Pliancy from the retuned suspension is also excellent at high speeds.

Suspension pliancy is excellent at speed
Once on the highways you'll also find cruising at speed an effortless affair in the Astra, thanks to the transmission's willingness to settle the engine into a low running speed, contributing to the car's excellent ability to maintain its momentum.

My passenger did find the engine note rather agricultural and I did find myself wanting better insulation from the exhaust note, but general noise levels are still well enough within the car to allow you to hold quiet conversation.

On the go

Light steering can make driving at speed in the wet an unnerving affair
From the driver's seat, the first thing you notice of the Astra is the light steering. We had the Astra for one thundery afternoon and on the highway it barely weighed up, quickly turning the car into one unnerving thing to drive.

That said, even in the stormy blitz, the Astra's Lane Keep Assist performed well to keep track of the car's position within the lanes, although I found it intervening just a touch later than I would have liked.

The switchgear in the Astra - from the gear selector to the indicator stalks and the door handles - still lack the damping that communicates quality as you'd find in the Golf, but I nonetheless found myself quite liking the cabin's overall layout and the combination of gloss-black and chrome on the front fascia.

The chrome surrounds within the instrument cluster, however, add a particularly classy touch.

Bagels or sushi?

Use of high-gloss and chrome-effect finishes give the cabin a classy elegance
We managed a fuel economy of 13.1km/L in the Opel Astra, a little far from the 19.2km/L claimed consumption rate, but still on par to the 12.8km/L we achieved in the Mazda3 Hatchback.

And at $116,500, (as of 22 September 2020) the Astra is offered at only a sliver above the lower-spec Elegance Mazda3.

For sure, the cabin of this facelifted Astra may be a little lacking as rivals have already stepped up their game with their new generation models, but if it is the sheer urgency that you are looking for in your daily commuter, you need not look very far from the Astra.

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Car Information

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Price

: $96,500

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder in-line 12-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1341cc

Horsepower

:

107kW (143 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

236 Nm / 3500 rpm

Transmission

:

CVT (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

9.9sec

Top Speed

:

210km/h

Fuel consumption

:

19.2 km/L

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car review  opel  astra  opel astra  cvt  engine  facelift  drivetrain  c-segment  c segment  hatchback