There is no doubt that modern cars with the Astra L, LED lighting, and rims with a turned surface make this clear. However, it is not simply that the factories say that the exterior is retro, there you can really discover the past. Let’s start with the nose panel, which evokes the deep, double headlight grille of the first Manta as a plexiglass sheet, then there are the plastic inserts of the C-pillar, which refer to the Cadet’s D / E generations, and Opel insists the 18-inch rims are Monza / Senator cites 14-inch alloy wheels – I don’t see the latter, the tires aren’t ballooned enough. Characteristic and modern, the new model, unprecedented since the Drop Cadet, is a good indication of the brand’s confidence. The Astra will be a fresh spot on the roads, the base color is no longer white (HUF 100,000), but the cult yellow – the basic polish reminiscent of the 70’s was not even mentioned in the retro details…
On the French branch of the Stellantis Group, the compact Opel was installed on the universal EMP2 floor panel, and 50% of the parts in the V3 technical base were replaced or modified. The best thing about this is that the interior is already completely digital, although some physical switches have been preserved, which can be used to influence the most important parameters of ventilation. The lack of chips also affected the cars that appeared in the international test, only 5 out of about 30 cars received the standard PurePanel Pro dashboard with 10-inch screen screens and real glass cover – in Hungary it will be standard equipment – the other two dozen have smaller instrument units, plastic covered PurePanel instrumentation worked.
I was only lucky with a car like this, but the picture is already sharp and shows the changes pretty quickly – like its speed. While the space available for passengers is still spacious at the front, the five-door version in the second row has become noticeably narrower, the foot space has not been reduced so much, but the roof columns are tilted strongly inwards, so the passenger’s head touches the side of the roof trim quickly. Until the five-door arrives at Hungarian stores at the beginning of the summer, the extended-axle station wagon, which gives more space to the rear passengers in addition to the luggage, is expected at the end of the summer.
I started my acquaintance with a 130-horsepower diesel paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, which I mostly used on highways and expressways. The transmission shifts a lot, but due to the quiet engine, only the driver can feel it, there is little driving noise – Elegance features a two-layer front side window to help with this. Second, I tried a 130-horsepower turbo engine equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, which I had already driven on more winding roads. It was an experience to steer the Astra on good quality asphalt, the steering wheel has a good grip, although it could give a little more feedback, otherwise the car follows the instructions very accurately. I would like to emphasize once again that I have experienced all this on high-quality asphalt, and I feel that progress on the pothole-wavy roads typical of many places in Hungary will be a more shocking experience. It was strange that the red field on the digital graphics of the instrument cluster started at 7000 rpm, while the down-speed at 6300 rpm makes it easy to run into that limit, especially since the smooth murmur of the three-cylinder engine doesn’t tell you how much you’re trying. The shift lever moves easily, with precise guidance.
Finally, I also ran a plug-in version with a 180-horsepower 1.6-turbocharged engine that asked me to reserve battery power, so I tried it in hybrid mode. In this case, the 1.6-turbocharged engine and the electric motor, which drive into the 8-speed transmission, work very well, and are capable of longer electric travel than normal hybrids. In fast corners, you can feel a heavier load on the rear axle.
Starting as a five-door, and soon to be available as a station wagon, the Opel Astra L will be crowned with a 225-horsepower system-powered plug-in version in the spring of 2023. In early 2024, the model will also be available with battery-electric drive.
Source: Autó-Motor by www.automotor.hu.
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