The new Opel Astra, which is set to arrive in Ireland this October will benefit from a range of advanced seating technology features which will ensure that every journey in the Astra is relaxing. So good are these seats the AGR, (Campaign for Healthier Backs, Germany) an independent association of doctors and experts dedicated to preventing back problems, has certified that the new Astra’s ergonomic seats provide excellent long-distance travel seating comfort. Beyond the 18-way adjustable positions, including side bolster adjustment, the Astra will offer an optional massage and memory function along with ventilation – a unique combination in the Astra’s segment. Rear passengers can also look forward to more legroom and heated outer rear seats. The base version of the optional ergonomic seats will come with four-way electropneumatically adjustable lumbar support (forwards, backwards, up and down), variable seat cushion tilt, cushion length adjustment and a seat form with contours that adapt to the natural curvature of the spine.
Seating is among the most important elements in a vehicle as it delivers safety and comfort and we place a high priority on their development- with the support of our partners,” says Charlie Klein, Vice President Vehicle Engineering at Opel. “The new Opel Astra seats are a reflection of the commitment of our engineers and designers to provide beneficial technologies which are normally found only in the premium class.” Development of the seating in the new Astra began nearly five years ago with over 100 employees in the team of experts. “Integration of the relatively bulky seats must be considered from the very beginning. This means the seats have to fit into the car accurately to the last millimeter – in every direction,” says Andrew Leuchtmann, Senior Manager GME Interiors. A very challenging task, as the seat components are one of the car’s largest parts. Seat production alone accounts for around ten percent of the total production costs of a new car model.
“Compared to the predecessor, not one single part is identical,” In order to offer rear seat passengers 35 millimeters more legroom, the seat back of the new comfort front seat was made much more compact. State-of-the-art calculation methods enable this, as do lighter polyurethane foams and ultra-high-strength steels that are built in under the seat upholstery. “So the new seats are around ten kilos lighter than those in the previous model,” explains Leuchtmann. “In-vehicle ergonomics is more than just the seat contouring, it begins with the positioning of the seat in the car,” says Leuchtmann. Opel experts optimised the Astra by positioning it lower. “This especially accommodates taller drivers with a sporty driving style,” he explains. Thanks to a 65-millimeter height adjustment span – the largest in the segment – shorter drivers are also guaranteed an optimum seating position. With the optional premium ergonomic seat’s memory function, this can even be saved at the press of a button.
The new Astra comfort seat features passive climate control, meaning breathable surface fabrics and perforated polyurethane foams that considerably improve transporting away moisture and thereby the micro climate in the seat. The new Astra’s premium ergonomic seats can do both – keep warm and cool. Small fans suck air, and thus the moisture that develops when someone is in the seat, away from the body. In the winter, integrated seat heating keeps the driver and co-driver as well as both outer rear seat passengers comfortably warm. Those who want to turn their car into a wellness mobile on longer journeys can enjoy a massage at the push of a button – and arrive at their destination even hours later relaxed and free of aches or pains.
Opel is the leading volume manufacturer of ergonomic seats with the AGR seal of approval. The first ergonomic Opel seat was introduced with the Signum in 2003. Today, in addition to the new Astra, the certified and popular seats can be ordered for many Opel models including the Insignia, Meriva, Zafira Tourer, Mokka and Cascada. “We want to really speed up the democratization of good seats – more Opel models with AGR seats will follow,” promises Andrew Leuchtmann.