Hot on the heels of the release of the teaser images of the Vauxhall Astra comes the full reveal of the all new Vauxhall Astra. Which rather begs the question: Why bother with the daft teaser picture? Of course, it may be a reaction by Opel/Vauxhall to some of the pictures leaking out, but it still makes a nonsense of the teaser image game. Unless of course it was a ‘Vanity’ release to bolster the egos of the design team!
The Astra has been with us for 30 years, and this is the sixth generation to hit the showrooms. And it looks to be the best yet (as you would hope), with a cohesive style and loads of design cues taken from Vauxhall’s Insignia.
This new Astra is built on the same platform as the much heralded Vauxhall Ampera (the Electric Car that will be the salvation of GM – once the technology is sorted) and as such offers a bigger wheelbase (up by 71mm) on a 4.4 meter (14′ 4″) body, with a wider track, which should make the Astra a better drive. To help that cause, the Astra offers Vauxhall’s FlexRide system, which gives the option of three suspension setups – standard, sport and tour – and also reacts to driving style.
The FlexRide system is a pretty advanced option in this sector, but it is joined by the AFL lighting system seen in the Insignia, which uses bixenons that react automatically to prevailing driving conditions. Although not standard, this is another indication of the drive upmarket for the new Astra, certainly in terms of equipment/options.
Big engines are eschewed (certainly for now) in a nod to eco-concerns, and instead the new Astra will feature a 1.4 litre turbo 140PS engine. There will be 3 further petrol engines with outputs from 100PS to 180PS and a choice of four diesels with outputs from 95PS to 160PS. But expect to see an Astra VRX in time.
The Opel / Vauxhall Astra will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and go on sale in the UK later in 2009. There will be more drips of information between now and Frankfurt and, at some point, UK prices. We’ll let you know.