The sixth generation Astra debuted for Europe with the Stelantis base and lots of new technology.
Another day, another slightly odd European hatchback that won’t be sold in America — but we’re drooling anyway. This is the new 6th generation Opel Astra, which runs on the same EMP2 platform as other Stellantis-owned cars.and – The previous generation was developed when Opel was owned by General Motors and shares its base with the Chevy Cruze.
No need to mince words here, the new Astra looks awesome. The front end features Opel’s Vizor, a glossy black panel that forms the “face” of the car by integrating the LED headlights, front badge and camera, and slim grille slats. The angular bottom bumper gives the Astra a dopey face – in a good way, I guess. At the rear are super-slim LED taillights, a nicely sculpted tailgate and a cool vertical third brake light integrated into the roof spoiler.
2021 marks the return of the 1980 rally car-style boxed fender flare, and I’m about it. The Astra has a subtle character line that runs just below the base of the windows that flows into the angular flared fenders, and the kick-up line at the base of the doors is the only other real piece of surface on the body. The C-pillar is tilted forward and has a nice crease, and it works well with the two-tone roof available. The wheelbase of the new Astra is half an inch longer, but it is not even 0.2 inches longer overall due to the short overhang.
The interior is also red. Its main feature is the Pure Panel, a pair of 10-inch screens that are part of a larger rectangular panel that also houses the driver’s air vents. Opel says a “shutter-like layer” prevents reflections and means displays don’t require a hood over them, and screens are available fully glazed as an option. Physical controls are minimal, with only the volume knob on the dashboard and about a dozen buttons for climate control. Cables are also kept to a minimum with wirelessand As standard, with a new voice assistant system.
There’s a super-interesting mix of materials, with a slash design on the dash that bifurcates the aluminum-look trim and a cool textured soft-touch material with a piece of bright trim. The door panels feature gray nappa leather along with all these elements, while the seats get a nice pattern, light gray fabric with white stripes and that brown leather. The gear shifter is a simple toggle switch on the center console, and the redesigned steering wheel has thin spokes and a bunch of rectangular buttons.
Opel is offering the Astra with a number of gas and diesel turbocharged engines that can be mated to a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, but new to the model are two plug-in-hybrid powertrains. Both use a 1.6-liter turbo four, an eight-speed auto and a 12.4-kWh battery pack, with the two more powerful producing 225 horsepower and offering an all-electric range of about 31 miles.
The Astra is designed with “autobahn-proof” handling, meaning that high-speed stability is a priority, and to that end it has a stiffer chassis, better stopping power, and a more sophisticated suspension than its predecessor. Opel’s Intelli-Drive 2.0 suite of driver-assistance features uses four cameras, five radar sensors and two ultrasonic sensors to provide Astra adaptive cruise control with stop and go, semi-automatic lane changes and long-range blind-spot monitoring. Can go Massage and ventilated seats, Pixel LED headlights, a heads-up display and a 360-degree camera system are all available.
The new Opel Astra will go on sale in Europe early next year, with order books to open in the fall. While the Astra will never be sold in the US, it shows us the technology, features and design knowledge that can be usedthat we will get