7 minute read
25 Sep 2013
12:00 am

Opel’s C-segment sedan returns to SA

The all-new Opel Astra sedan has been released in South Africa, marking the return of Opel’s C-segment sedan and the addition of four new models to complete the Opel Astra range.

The new sedan, which is based on the Opel Astra hatchback, arrives on South African shores with guns blazing and a sculptured design which is set to attract the style-conscious minds and eyes of compact sedan buyers.

“The arrival of the Astra sedan to South Africa is significant for GM South Africa as it completes the Opel Astra range, and supports our efforts to rejuvenate and strengthen the Opel brand in this market,” said Chris Cradock, Opel brand manager at General Motors South Africa. “This all-new model brings with it an extension of the chic style and premium quality which the current Astra hatch range ushered in back in 2010, with the sedan offering superior luggage space and a similarly beautiful design.

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“We expect brand-conscious South Africans to develop a weakness for the Opel Astra sedan once again, and we have no doubts that the new Astra sedan will impress on all fronts.”

The new Astra sedan follows the more upmarket and contemporary design cues first seen on the refreshed Opel Astra hatch earlier in 2013. Featuring the same suave front end, the new Astra sedan builds on the design success of the range with the same sleek, smooth lines beginning at the nose, where a premium look and feel which begins with chrome details in the grille and air dams converges into strong character lines which escalate sharply into the steeply-raked A-pillars.

The clean, fuss-free flanks of the vehicle exhibit a contemporary air, the gradual shoulder line rising subtly from the side indicator adding a muscular sense, which is complemented by the signature Opel design swathe above the side sills. The slim side window profile joins these design elements in emphasising the length and sleekness of the new Astra sedan – interrupted only by stylish alloy wheels on all models.

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The new Astra sedan’s best attribute is its new boot – which integrates well into the overall design without looking bulky or out of place. Crafted according to Opel’s latest design language and featuring prominent tail lights, an integrated boot spoiler and a smart, chrome-plated exhaust outlet, the additional metalwork has been expertly integrated into the existing Astra shape, which is now 230 mm longer in sedan form.

Fulfilling their visual appeal requirements brilliantly, the tail lights in particular emphasise class and quality with underlying safety benefits as well, where large elements and bright lighting contribute to enhanced visibility, besides giving the Astra sedan a completely unique rear look.

Much like the hatchback versions of the Opel Astra, the new sedan boasts an 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.

Switchgear is finished in a tactile and durable matt coating, also effecting 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. The Astra sedan can double as a utility vehicle, with a total of 1 010 litres of cargo volume available when the rear seats are folded forward.

Following important design principles and the need for increased storage space within the cabin itself, the new Astra sedan makes use of a total of 19 different storage areas inside, including four bottle holders, four cup holders and a storage tray underneath the front passenger seat.

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The new Opel Astra arrives in South Africa with a four-model range which encompasses three different petrol engines and three transmissions for a broad spectrum of choice and value. All three engines are importantly part of Opel’s ECOTEC engine family and all subscribe to Euro 5 emissions regulations.

Starting things off is the new Astra 1.6 Essentia sedan with a normally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 85 kW at 6 000 rpm with 155 Nm of torque available at 4 000 rpm. Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, the front-wheel drive sedan enjoys average fuel economy on the combined cycle of 6.6-litres per 100 km and carbon emissions of 154 g/km.

Powering two of the four cs and available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox, the new Astra 1.4 Turbo Essentia sedan models benefit from a forced induction motor – with 103 kW available between 4 900 and 6 000 rpm as well as 200 Nm between 1 850 and 4 900 rpm.

With obvious benefits to performance, the downsized engine reveals its greatest advantages in reduced fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions – 5.9-litres per 100 km on the combined cycle and 139 g/km in the manual version. The automatic’s figures are 6.6-litres per 100 km and 154 g/km respectively.

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 132 kW at 5 500 rpm and 230 Nm of torque at 2 200 rpm. These figures are enough for world class performance, the engine delivering a 0-100 km/h sprint time of just 8.7 seconds and a top speed of 223 km/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 – 159 g/km and 6.8-litres per 100 km.

True to the Opel badge, the new Astra sedan range has been developed to provide communicative yet comfortable ride characteristics – ensuring the driver is always confident behind the wheel while all occupants enjoy a smooth ride. The 1.6 Essentia model features a compound crank rear suspension design while sharing its MacPherson strut front suspension design with the rest of the range.

All turbo models feature a more communicative Watt’s link rear suspension setup and the 1.6 Turbo Cosmo enjoys a sportier chassis with a lowered ride height for a more energetic edge to driving dynamics.

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All trim levels – Essentia, Turbo Essentia and Cosmo – feature class-leading attributes which aid in marking the new Astra sedan a cut above its competitors, of which there are many. Opel SAFETEC is the umbrella term applied to the various safety systems provided in the new Astra sedan, chief of which is the rigid safety structure made from high-tensile steel. The structure features load diffusion paths, impact absorbing areas and crumple zones front and rear.

Further to improving safety of occupants and other road users as well as contributing to the Astra sedan’s five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, all models feature ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), brake discs all-round, ABS with EBD and BAS, CBC and CTC (Cornering Brake Control and Cornering Torque Control), trailer sway control, hydraulic brake fade assist and brake disc cleaning. Six airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchors, active front head rests, a pedal release system, side impact bars and front seatbelt pretensioners also feature across the range.

Essentia and Turbo Essentia models all feature colour coding, 17-inch alloy wheels, electric and heated side mirrors, a multi-function steering wheel with rake and reach adjustment, front and rear fog lamps, halogen daytime running lights, height adjustment for the driver’s seat, folding rear seats and cloth trim. This is along with air conditioning, front electric windows with tinting all-round, cruise control with a speed limiter, a radio/CD player with USB, auxiliary and Bluetooth functionality, seven speakers, a multi-info trip computer and remote central locking with an alarm/immobiliser – all fitted as standard.

The range-topping Turbo Cosmo model features all the same equipment, with the addition of 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome detailing on the door handles and side window profile, a leather-bound steering wheel, automatic headlights and wipers, a sports seat for the driver with powered lumbar support adjustment, leather upholstery, heated front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, electric windows all-round, hill start assistance, rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a smart electronic parking brake – also all as standard.

All models in the new Opel Astra range come standard with a five-year/120 000 km warranty and a five-year/ 90 000 km service plan with service intervals of 15 000 km. The four-model range is as follows:

Astra 1.6 Essentia sedan; Astra 1.4 Turbo Essentia sedan; Astra 1.4 Turbo Essentia AT sedan.