Review Opel Astra Sedan 1.7 CDTI Cosmo – Family racer

TEST Opel Astra Sedan 1,7 CDTI Cosmo - Rodinný závoďák

If you think about the question of which non-premium car manufacturer offers a lower middle class model as a hatchback, coupe, sedan, estate car and last but not least as a hothatch, you will arrive at Opel by a simple elimination method. The fourth generation of Astra once again bets on an attractive, but less popular three-seater body, which has become a thorn in the side of all Golfs, Leons and the like. It was this body version that we put to the editorial test, in what is probably the best version you can buy – with a 96 kW diesel engine, the top Cosmo equipment and the FlexRide adaptive chassis .

Design – Small Insignia

You'd be surprised how many people confuse the new Astra with a three-compartment body with the Opel Insignia. Although the cars are separated by one class, the Astra is closer to the Insignia in size. Compared to the previous generation, it has increased in length by 71 millimeters, is 64 millimeters wider and 42 millimeters higher.

Astra's design goes hand in hand with other Opel models. The car exudes unprecedented elegance and sportiness , which is enhanced by 17" alloy wheels. Chrome was not spared and, in the case of the tested car, even luxury elements in the form of adaptive headlights and rear lamps with diode strips.

Interior

The interior is designed in a similar spirit to the exterior. The comfortable front seats are sufficiently dimensioned for larger figures and, compared to the competition, they also offer the option of extending the seat . The sporty three-spoke steering wheel has an ideal diameter and thickness of the rim, and the thumb recesses were not forgotten in the grips. The wide range of adjustment of the driver's seat in relation to the steering wheel ensures a relaxing and slightly racing position, which due to the adaptive chassis you will appreciate on winding roads.

Typically , the Opel center console has a large number of buttons. But the control is so intuitive that even a moderately trained dachshund can get used to it. Everything is clear and immediately at hand, including the climate control and the heating of the front seats, which is located in the lower half of the center console. You will get used to the instrument panel with four tubes and an on-board computer just as quickly. Depending on the selected FlexRide adaptive chassis setting, the tubes are either bright or red tinted, which looks impressive at night.

The top-of-the-line Cosmo equipment , with which you can buy the car from 365,900 crowns, really offers a lot. The tested Astra does not have cruise control and speed limiter , hill start assistant, dual-zone automatic air conditioning or leather on the steering wheel.

However, the dials on the instrument panel or the leather upholstery of the door panels with contrasting stitching are not that important to the Czech customer. A typical Czech wants to load his whole family and complete weekend shopping into his new car. But will the Astra with a sedan body allow it here? Let's say yes. There is no lack of space in the front and in the longitudinal direction , and the same applies to the back. However, it cannot be said that there is an excess of it here. The rear seats are anchored relatively low, which forces passengers to stick out their knees more. The increase in body height has had its effect on the space above the passengers' heads, so even people with a height of around 180 centimeters will not suffer here.

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The luggage compartment, which has a volume of 460 liters, is also important. Although this value is 30 liters lower than in the case of the previous generation, it is still more than enough for an ordinary Czech family. In connection with the body of the sedan, however, it is necessary to take into account poorer access through the smaller entrance opening and the relatively large length of the loading area, which makes it difficult for smaller persons to unload objects.

Engine – The right choice

Under the hood of the tested Astra was a four-cylinder CDTI diesel with a volume of 1.7 liters and a maximum output of 96 kW . A torque of 300 Nm is available from 2000-2500 rpm, which is a high value among the competition. In our case, the engine was connected to a manual six-speed gearbox, which pleases with pleasantly long tracks and precise movement in the scenery. For the time being, however, it still hasn't been possible to cure the driving pain in the form of poor synchronization between the first and second gears. Therefore, if you rev the engine up to the red zone when starting, it may happen that you do not engage second gear the first time.

The tested engine is the best possible choice in terms of driving dynamics and fuel consumption. With the Astra, the unit does not have the slightest problem during take-offs or in the case of flexible acceleration. It pleases with its pleasantly smooth running and excellent fuel consumption. This was around 5.2 l/100 km during highway movements, outside the city it was no problem to reach a value below 5 liters of diesel. Even in the extreme case when you push the engine to the limits of its capabilities, you will not get more than 7.5 l/100 km on average.

Ride – Take FlexRide

Yes, the extra charge for the adaptive chassis is really worth it ! It is part of the Ride kit, which, in addition to the already mentioned chassis, includes adaptive xenon headlights with the function of automatic high beams, a self-dimming interior rear-view mirror and a rain sensor. All this for exactly 40,000 CZK, which may seem like a lot to some.

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Personally, I would prefer a navigation system for 20,000 CZK or parking sensors for 16,500 CZK in favor of the Ride package. The adaptive headlights have excellent brightness, you will get used to cornering very quickly and you will never have to deal with the annoying switching between high beam and low beam again. The same applies to driving in a tunnel, when the daytime running lights switch to low beams in a flash.

The FlexRide adaptive chassis smoothly adapts the stiffness of the shock absorbers to the situation between the wheels and the road . The Astra thus became one of the most comfortable cars in its segment ! The chassis can filter an abundance of unevenness and does not allow shocks to be transmitted to the body or interior.

All this already in the basic settings, but it doesn't end there. There are also Tour and Sport settings , which adjust the dampers to a different note. Pressing the Tour button changes the character of the chassis to a rockier one. However, definitely do not expect a situation like in the Citroën C5 . The Sport mode stiffens the shock absorbers and does not allow excessive body leans in corners. Ultimately, this means that the Astra will become a family racer. The steering with electronic power steering stiffens with increasing speed and induces a feeling of sportiness. Everything is very well coordinated, which also applies to the stabilization system, which does not intervene too soon.

Conclusion

The Opel Astra sedan is a pleasant alternative to the established competition, which can hardly compete with a hatchback or station wagon. For very decent money, you get a representative-looking car with a high-quality interior, an economical engine, and if you pay extra for the Ride package, you'll feel like you're in a premium car. And not just the fare! The complaint is directed only at the low-slung rear seats, which do not leave much space in front of the knees of the rear passengers, and the gearbox, which is not used to sporty handling.

Base price of the car: CZK 311,900 (Essentia)

Basic price of the tested car: CZK 446,900 (Cosmo)

Pros

– economical and refined engine

– the quality and workmanship of the interior

– drive ability

– representative design

– interesting base price

Cons

– transmission synchronization

– less space in the back

Compare the parameters of the Opel Astra with the competition

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