A GREAT ALL-ROUNDER: The new Opel Astra - worth a second look


I must admit that I am not one for entry level models – I like all the bells and whistles factory-fitted as standard in a car, after having had bad experiences with aftermarket radios and alarms in the past. So I was quite hesitant when I was handed the keys to the entry level Opel Astra 1.6 Essentia.

Although less sporty than the 3-door GTC I had driven a few weeks back, the new Astra’s styling is very appealing and streets ahead of its predecessor.

On the inside, the cabin is just as exciting as the GTC’s and finished in the same quality materials. The big difference between these two vehicles lies in the Essentia’s spacious back-seat area. It also had enough boot space for me to transport 5 000 copies of our magazines on a recent out-of-town trip quite comfortably!

Even with no Turbo, the 1.6 litre engine is impressively powered around town and made open road driving effortless. It produces 85 kW and 155 N.m of torque and sends that power to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.3 l / 100 km.

Standard features includes automatic daytime running lights, a six speaker MP3 compatible sound system with aux input, rear fog light, multi-function steering wheel, ABS with ESP and EBD, six airbags, cruise control, 17 inch alloy wheels as well as a standard five year / 90 000 km service plan - quite an impressive list for a base model.

On the whole, the Astra Essentia is a high quality product with bold styling and heaps of confidence – it looks and feels great and is an absolute pleasure to drive!

To test drive the Opel Astra 1.6 Essentia today, call 082 825 5477 or visit www.opel.co.za