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Ein Auto, das Sie lieben (A car you’ll love)

Ein Auto, das Sie lieben  (A car you’ll love)
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  • On October 9, 2013

Opel has been making some pretty good cars, and the Astra has been a favourite among many. They surely do know how to make cars we drivers love, and with this new Astra, they are setting new trends in the compact family segment.

Opel is trying hard to put forth its German origins; trying to distinguish itself from the American conglomerate it is part of. Opel is not simply a GM car if we can say so, the company is building cars true to its origin. The Astra, despite being such a popular car in the UK for example, is bound to do well if it follows its legacy or simply in the footsteps of its older brother the Insignia.

To tell you the truth, we’ve all been waiting for the Astra. We did get a first go at it when the hatchback hit the market earlier, but our excitement never fluttered when the sedan version came rolling out of the factory. Somehow, we’d like to point out that this ‘sedan’ or ‘saloon’ as we like to call them here in Mauritius is in fact a notchback really. A small extra space in the back or boot if we go by the design line. Things get better as open the boot; but we’ll get back to this later on in our review.

The Look
Do you see any other car in the compact family segment looking this good? Most probably and almost definitely not, as who would expect such a classy and elegant looking car in such a segment? The Astra notch does stand out of the lot. You just have to look at it and practically fall in love with subtle line of elegance coupled with the quality of a well-built German car. The happy, soon-to-be owners of this Astra will definitely make those who recently opted for the Opel’s Japanese rivals want to end their lives or to be less fatalist, simply and as quickly as possible make the switch to the Astra. This new car may however have a tight match with the Ford Focus in terms of look and maybe even in overall performance, but it might just be too close to call.

This new Astra seems to have been cut from the same cloth as the Insignia. The Astra is dressed like a gentleman in a suit; a suit that is tailor made and none of the idiotic ready made particulars. We, at MotorMag know a thing or two about all this, being gentlemen ourselves. It has this sculpted look that is such a desirable and non-negotiable trait to gain access to the gentleman’s club. It looks bigger yes, but without being a big load of steroids; it seems to know the right way of keeping fit at the gym.

You see, such a refinement in terms of look may seem simple enough to achieve, but such styling done badly could look cheesy but we think Opel has pulled off a winner here! It is not shy on equipment either. The trim available at Eldomotors is one with a spec sheet that ticks all equipments as standard! You name it, the LED Daytime Running Lights the 17” wheels (boy they make the Astra look good, just like them Italian shoes on a suit), and the chrome front grille that flows through the front bumper right across the nice Opel badge. Also a thick chrome-alike ring around the side glass lends a sense of class to the exterior – now that is elegance going the extra mile!

The Interior
Climb from an old Vauxhall Astra into a new one and you’ll think that you’ve skipped a generation, for it seems hardly credible that such a plain Jane interior can have been transformed into one so classy in a single bound. In particular, the dashboard looks like it comes from at least a class above; partly through the elegance of its design and partly thanks to some clever touches such as the chrome rings around the dials. Very premium!

Vauxhall has put the substantial dimensions of the Astra to good use and created a cabin with space not only to rival the best in its class but also to challenge cars from the class above. Strange though it may seem to read it, the rear seat package differs in no great way from an Insignia’s. It makes good use of that space too, particularly in the way your feet can slide right under the seat in front. We did write earlier that the boot is something to look forward to, well with its 460-litre boot is 30 litres larger than that of the Mazda3 and 90 litres more accommodating than the Astra hatchback. With the 60:40 split-fold rear seats pushed forwards, the sedan’s total load space increases to 1010 litres.

Many would complain about the instruments not being the easiest to read, the sheer welcome the Astra gives to you will make up for everything, or should we say that tiny little thing that might seem to you a little bit off. Other than that this car is a real treat. The test driver may consider another job after this; but he did pick up his girlfriend during the test drive. While (at times) pushing the Astra to its limits the girl did actually fall asleep in the back without any complaints. Can you believe this? No complaints, and his girlfriend is a girl! This Astra, on top of being a gentleman, may just be your perfect wingman now. Thank you great seats, thank you space, thank you comfort, thank you sophistication and thank you suspension! And on that bombshell… no we are not done with the review. Now time for the good stuff – performance.

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