All-new Astra a great new class contender
Previously the worthy also-ran, Opel’s Astra in its all-new guise has found a new lease of life to catapult it right to the top of the class for top honours, being good to drive, inexpensive to buy and run and classy, too.
What is it?
The Opel Astra has always been a worthy, if unexciting choice in the compact family hatchback marketplace, but with the new model that’s changed. Dramatically. Restyled and reengineered inside and out it’s not only a classier choice than ever, but engaging to drive, safer and lighter on your wallet thanks to excellent economy and emissions. Once the car you’d consider before buying a Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus or Toyota Auris, the Astra’s now good enough to tempt you out of all of them.
What is it like?
Notably smarter inside and out than it’s ever been, which elevates it to a level that makes it desirable rather than a bit dreary. It’s good to drive, too, with sharp handling, fine refinement and decent performance from all its engines. The diesels deliver good power and excellent economy, but the 1.0-litre turbo petrol is also well worth consideration. The cabin is neat and spacious, with quality at Volkswagen levels for fit, finish and feel. Prices start at just under €20,000.
Carzone verdict: 4.5/5
Time was we’d have begrudgingly added the Astra to a list of buying options thanks to its decent value and promise of respectable levels of equipment. With the new car that’s no longer the case, as it’s better in every way, with fine driving dynamics, good economy, performance and respectable levels of equipment, along with massive model choice. It’s very much at the top of the class now, though a Skoda Octavia is bigger, and the Volkswagen Golf has more brand cachet.