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Opel's pretty-looking Astra

Names like the Ford Focus, Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato Hatch, Honda Civic, Toyota Auris, Citroen C4 and Volkswagen Golf come to mind – with the Golf being considered as the aerchetypal family hatchback by many.

Of course, the these cars vary in price and have different aesthetic features, but essentially, they aim to do the same job: provide a package of comfort, space, decent economy and a bit of excitement when the driver feels like putting his or her foot down. Well, at least that’s what I think a good hatchback should embody.

The Opel Astra name has been around for quite some time, gaining immense popularity over the years. But if memory serves correct, I believe the Kadett nomenclature was reserved for Opel’s line-up of family hatchbacks and the sedas were given the Astra name. We love such Opels in South Africa – just ask any motor-mad person about hot hatches from the past, and they’ll immediately swoon over cars like the Opel Kadett 200is, Kadett Superboss and Astra Euro.

But like it sister, the Opel Corsa, the Astra has changed over the years, developing a more refined and sophisticated persona – so you won’t find slats on either side of the bonnet here, as was the case with those 90s models. Just look at this new one – it’s undoubtedly stylish and will probably grab the attention of your fellow road users when out and about. Smooth lines and curves make the Astra attractive to look at, you might want to just stare at it when it’s parked in your drive way. It’s rumoured that an OPC model could be on the cards for the present Astra – that should bring some hooliganism to the party.

For now, there line-up consists of the 1.6 Essentia, 1.4T Enjoy, 1.4T Enjoy Plus and the 1.6T Sport. The engine in the Essentia model does without a turbo, and produces 85-kilowatts and 155 Newton-metres of torque. An output of 103-kilowatts and 200 Newton-metres of torque is rendered by the the 1.4 turbo engine in the Enjoy and Enjoy Plus models. The 1.6 turbo powerplant in the Sport model has an output of 132-kilowatts and 230 Newton-metres of torque. According to the press release, base equipment across the range includes:  Electronic Stability Programme, power steering, satellite controls on the steering wheel for the audio system, cruise control, daytime running lamps, Driver and passenger front and side airbags as well as curtain side airbags and power windows for both front and rear. I’m sure you will agree, that is a decent list of standard features. In addition to all this, one gets creature comforts like a sports steering wheel, climate control, leather trim and heated front seats in the 1.6 Sport model.

Peace of mind comes in the form of a 5 year/120 000 kilometre warranty with Roadside Assisstance, one also gets a 5-year anti-corrosion warranty.

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