New Astra a good rival for the Focus and Golf
WHEELS borrowed the new Opel Astra from Key Delta before its local launch on May 19.
When we parked at the Steampunk Cafe on the Midlands Meander to compare notes, truck driver Cyril Zondi stopped behind us in his 1.6 16-valve Astra Sport, which is now 11 years old.
“It is still going strong, as is my 16-year-old Monza,” Zondi said. He dismissed people who think Opel parts are expensive, saying his Opels are reliable and service costs compare well.
The boldest claim about the new Astra was, however, made by Wheels24 journalist Cyril Klopper, who drove the 1.6T SportPlus from East London to Port Elizabeth. After the six-hour trip, Klopper said the Opel Astra is one of the best hatchbacks available in South Africa today, able to take on the Ford Focus and VW Golf. Wheels car writer Brian Bassett adds to this that even the Astra 1.4T we drove would give his 2.0 BMW a go.
And gone are the days of my youth when Opels had whistling turbos able to only give a tiny burp of boost at high revs. The 1.4 engine’s turbo provide seamless power throughout the mid range. On his long ride, Klopper, however, did not like the “Opel Eye” — a front-facing camera that observes the road ahead and help to keep the car safely in the middle of the lane. Klopper said the system works reasonably well as a warning device at exactly 65 km/h, but too many variables confuse the Opel Eye; from smeared bugs to uneven road edges and faded lines.
Prices for the eight new Astras start at R254 000 for the 1.0T Essentia and go up to R407 000 for 1.6T Sport Plus. Our thanks to Key Delta dealer principal Mike Paul-Jones and marketer Sam Job for the 1.4T Sport MT.
Job invites all Astra fans to Key Delta in Pietermaritzburg on May 19 to hear more. — WR.
Eleven years old and still going strong, an Astra 1,6 Sport next to the new Opel Astra 1,4T, which retails for R354 000.