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Astra is class leader

By Alistair Coull, Daily Post

WITH nearly 2m sales in the UK alone since it was first launched in 1980, the Astra has been one of the most influential players in the compact car class.

Always popular with both private and company car buyers, it suffered from a stuffy image that meant it never appealed to Britain's younger movers and shakers.

With both the Zafira and Meriva compact MPVs now taking care of the more practical demands of families, Vauxhall hopes the fifth-generation Astra, with its sharper looks, more stylish cabin and excellent chassis, will finally become more than just a dependable family car fleet workhorse.

Built at Ellesmere Port, in Cheshire (England), as well as Antwerp in Belgium and Bochum in Germany, Vauxhall expect around 48,000 to be sold in Britain this year.

Petrol engines vary from the 90bhp 1.4 entry level through to the popular 105bhp 1.6, the smooth 125bhp 1.8 and onto the turbocharged 170bhp 2.0-litre.

On a driving exercise this week, I managed to sample the 1.6 and 2.0-litre versions.

On some testing routes in the hills above St Tropez, both engines were fast and frugal, offering accessible performance and excellent fuel consumption.

With an increasing number of people favouring diesel, the Astra will eventually offer three oil burning units. Two

1.7-litre choices will be available from launch - one offering 80bhp and the other 100bhp - with a 1.9 turbodiesel following later.

With a 130mph top speed and a 0-60mph time of 8.6 seconds, the 1.9 will outclass all its current rivals while still offering an impressive 50.4mpg figure on the combined cycle.

All three meet the Euro IV guidelines, meaning they dodge the 3pc tax normally applied to company cars. On the petrol engines, Twinport technology reduces day-to-day fuel consumption by up to 10pc in the 1.4 and 1.6 units.

Transmissions have also been improved. The proven 5-speed manual and 4-speed auto remain but new technology has entered the arena. The 1.6-litre offers an improved Easytronic gearbox with steering wheel controls as standard. A six-speed manual box is standard on the 2.0 petrol turbo and 1.9 turbo-diesel.

The new Astra is awash with new technology, some of it like the sport button for sharper throttle and steering response, which is now available in the lower medium sector for the first time.

Full Article Here

 

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If GM did not have the NUMMI venture w/Toyota, I think the Pontiac Vibe would been based off the Astra 5 Dr.


The Astra Sedan I believe debuts @ the Geneva Auto show. The Chevy Cobalt/Pontiac Pursuit sedans twin.........


Ken
 

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that should be the next sunfire replacement not a cobalt look-a-like!!and bring back the nameplate SUNBIRD!!!!!make it a coupe sedan and sport wagon with that body..lets give GM some credit but its not enough to fill in the gap the sunfire is making in pontiac dealerships..GM get rid of the vibe and sunfire and build that to take the place of 2 vechicles and one major headache for pontiac dealerships..
 

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Why don't we get cars like this here!?!
 

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It makes me sad that in Europe people will actually want that car. Poor Europeans. Maybe that's why they don't seem to like Americans all that much. I don't know, I would be pretty ticked off if that was the best car I could buy without being taxed all to heck and back.
 

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Are we going to see that butt-ugly thing here in Aus as well? Isn't it bad enough that Vectra sales died because the Europeans hit that with the ugly stick???

Thank goodness we have the Commodore, Calais, Adventra, Monaro, Statesman and Caprice - completely untouched by GM Europe's 'styling' people!
 

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What works for your country might not work for UK or US. Astra is a good car and personally I am disappointed that our version the Chevy Maxx has that butt ugly front end styling.
 

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Originally posted by AussieCalaisDriver@Mar 11 2004, 07:42 PM
Are we going to see that butt-ugly thing here in Aus as well? Isn't it bad enough that Vectra sales died because the Europeans hit that with the ugly stick???

Thank goodness we have the Commodore, Calais, Adventra, Monaro, Statesman and Caprice - completely untouched by GM Europe's 'styling' people!
I actually think the new vectra looks good, as long as it has the dark bezel headlights, one reason it isnt selling well is the high price which they are bringing down now.
 
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