Vauxhall release pictures and details of efficient new-gen Astra
Vauxhall has announced details and pictures of its new Astra which will go on sale later on in the year. This is the seventh-generation of the popular hatchback. It sits on an entirely new lightweight platform. As a result, up to 200kg has been stripped from the weight, with 130kg being the average figure compared to its predecessor, across all models. The body shell alone is reduced from 357kg to just 280kg. Coupled to a new range of new ‘whisper’ engines, the most efficient model will be likely to emit less than 90g/km of CO2 – although Vauxhall have yet to confirm this.
The chassis is constructed from high-strength, low-weight steels. But not content with this, Vauxhall/Opel’s engineers have reduced weight from both axles too.
Vauxhall has also taken the opportunity to introduce a brand new engine to the Astra: a direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder 1.4-litre petrol. It produces 143bhp and 184lb ft of torque and, as you would expect, is constructed around a lightweight aluminium block.
The entry-level engine is a 103bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit taken from the Corsa. There are also a spread of 1.6-litre ‘whisper’ diesel engines which range in power from 109bhp to 158bhp.
In recognition of where it has struggled in recent times, Vauxhall will also be mating some of the engines to an all-new six-speed manual gearbox.
The latest styling takes inspiration from the 2013 Monza concept, with sharp lines. Mark Adams is the British designer who was put in charge of the new model, and who has not just made the Astra a lot cleaner in its looks, but also more space efficient. Compared to the model which it will replace – and in a break from the usual convention – the new Astra is actually smaller than its predecessor: by 50mm in length and 30mm in height. Despite the smaller footprint, it boasts more rear legroom.
Up front, there is a better quality dashboard and instrument panel taken from the recently updated Corsa. A new large touchscreen infotainment system and multifunction steering wheel will also be present.
Technology plays a big role in the new Astra. Aside from the new LED matrix headlights on the outside, inside, the new Astra is the first Vauxhall to feature Vauxhall’s personal assistant, offering roadside assistance and onboard ‘advisor’ in the form of ‘OnStar’, along with connectivity to Google Maps, Sykpe, WhatsApp and Apple CarPlay. The OnStar system also allows the car to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to seven devices, and in the event of a crash, will contact the emergency services.
The full range of equipment will be revealed closer to the new car’s launch later in the year. However, Vauxhall are already suggesting that it will be more upmarket than the outgoing model.
The new Vauxhall Astra will be official unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September and will be available as a traditional five-door hatchback (as depicted in the official photographs supporting our story), a three-door coupé, and an estate model which will benefit from a slightly longer wheelbase. The new Astra is expected to start from around £13,000.
It will compete in one of the most hotly contested sectors, which is already occupied by talented competition such as the Ford Focus, Škoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf.
This article was prepared by our car news team First4Auto
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