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Hi Guys

The new Astra just arrived in South Africa and since I've owned many Opel products in the past when there was nothing available from Alfa, I thought I'll go have a look. Here are my very brief first impressions.

Styling - not bad, not bad at all. The front is maybe a little conservative but it looks good and classy in the metal. The rear is nice and I like what they did with the C-pillar. I doubt it will turn heads the way the Giulietta still does, even after 6 years, but is most definitely a lot prettier than a Golf.

Interior - space in front is good and excellent in the back. Build quality seems very good with the usual mix of good quality plastics where it is important and harder plastics where it is not. The design is quite nice, certainly a lot more interesting than the Golf. IMO the Giulietta has more flair inside but not bad considering humourless Germans designed it.....

Engines - we don't get the diesels here (pity!!) so we get the 1-, 1.4- and 1.6 litre engines. The smaller engines don't interest me, the 1.6 is OK but it can do with more power, 147kw is a bit tame these days. Would have been nice if they had a 1.8 or 2.0 at around the QV mark. And it only comes with a manual gearbox which is a no-no for me, can't understand why Opel doesn't do a proper dual-clutch box. But overall in its class its not bad.

Technology - spec and gadget-wise the Astra really blows all its competitors right out of the water. The spec levels are incredibly impressive and well done to them for making technology that is usually only available on much more expensive cars (and even then only as options, in some cases) available in a C-segment hatch. Except maybe for residual values in the UK I can't see any reason why one would choose the Golf or Focus over the Astra.

I haven't driven it, didn't feel like driving the 1-litre turbo so I'll wait until they have a 1.6 But I think it is a really good effort from Opel and it should sell very well.

Just my two cents.

Cheers!

Chris
 

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The Astra has a Giulietta-like ( and BMW 1 series- like) concavity on the rear panel. This , to my eyes looks both too concave and not very high from top to bottom of the feature. The combined result of these factors looks like a heavy weight has been placed at the base of the rear screen squashing the panel below. That's my rearview of the Astra.
 
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