Opel has recently completed its Astra model line-up with the introduction of the new Opel Astra Saloon. This sleek, smart saloon variant joins the Astra five-door, sports tourer station wagon and the three-door GTC coupé. It now benefits from a host of technology that’s been previously available on larger Opel models including the Insignia and Zafira Tourer. Some of these optional technologies include the second-generation Opel Eye front camera, lane departure warning, following distance indication and forward collision alert.
Prices for this new Astra Saloon commence from €19,495, with a choice of petrol and diesel engines available. The key petrol model is the 1.4-litre turbocharged unit which produces 140hp. The 1.7-litre CDTI ecoFLEX diesel engine is available across two power outputs, 110hp and 130hp. Our test car was the 130hp variant. It’s an ideal power plant for anyone who will cover considerable mileage, offering excellent performance combined with an impressive combined fuel consumption of just 4.2l/100km (67.2mpg).
Covering mileage is effortless too, our car was finished in Elite specification (€25,295) which includes leather sports seats that are extremely supportive, with extendable bases for those of us with longer legs. The interior is spacious with all the quality switch gear well laid out within easy reach of the driver. The optional navigation system that was installed in out test car is neatly integrated into the driver infotainment system, it also controls the Bluetooth telephone connection and stereo controls which are straightforward to use.
The Astra Saloon is well behaved on all road surfaces, we are fond of the sporty Astra GTC which demonstrates impeccable road holding attributes. Thankfully Opel’s engineers have bestowed their handling skills on the saloon too. The steering is accurately weighted with a responsive chassis beneath. The six-speed manual transmission works competently but would benefit from a shorter throw between gears. As a result of having 300Nm of torque you don’t need to work the transmission too hard, this engine is happy to travel in a high gear and yet still pick up the pace when provoked.
This new Astra Saloon has certainly grown in size and also in terms of quality, it now resembles its larger sibling the Insignia and is a credible alternative to some of its main competitors. Traditionally mid-size saloons are volume sellers in Ireland so this new Astra Saloon will be out to take on the likes of the Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla. From what we’ve experienced it’s well positioned to mount a challenge.[table “135” not found /]