I take it you don’t remember Nicky Butt. Of course, the Manchester United fans among you will. So are the ABUs (everyone but United). Nicky was part of a great United side from the famous class of 1992.
But he didn’t get the superstar status bestowed on the likes of David Beckham. Nicky was good; He had to be to make it onto a team of exceptional ability.
But he wasn’t that good and wasn’t associated with outstanding goals or the Galacticos’ star turns.
Despite this, he was an important team player. I don’t mean to offend Nicky if he happens to stumble across this review, but he was a workaholic; the one who grafted and toiled to win the ball and give it to someone who could do better things with it.
That’s why I liked Nicky. He tried his best; it wasn’t always good enough, but he always put in a shift. Without him, United wouldn’t have fared as well in some games.
This week’s test car, the Opel Astra, was a bit like Nicky in previous generations; underestimated and often outperformed by competitors.
Some of the recently revised versions have been solid.
In difficult times for the brand and the car itself, it has maintained a good, strong and loyal basis.
And it should be said that the car has been bought by 15 million motorists to date, so it must have done something right.
But not quite as it could and needs to be in today’s competitive market. It’s often been criticized for being boring – and there’s no place for anything boring in today’s market.
There are just far too many star alternatives, not to mention the plethora of small crossovers and SUVs, to lure buyers.
The new Astra just went on sale here. So how does it fit together?
It looks much more elegant, mainly due to the low look and a strong front, where the new Opel Vizor face raises its appearance.
It’s not much longer than the old model and the wheelbase is only 2,675mm taller, but it’s engineered to give a greater sense of space.
With the rear seats folded down, there’s 1,339 liters of luggage space (and there’s a moveable loadspace floor).
That’s good room for a five-door hatch. If you are looking for even more space, I advise you to wait until next year for the station wagon version of the Sports Tourer.
The cabin is so much sleeker than previous models with its jet black fabric and leather look Greta upholstery, black fascia with Isabella trim inserts and red matte instrument panel trim.
The Pure Panel cockpit also brings modernity and focus to the interior with its two integrated horizontal displays.
Luckily, you can still manually adjust button settings. The air conditioning was particularly busy during the recent heat wave.
My main gripe is that I would have liked the car to sit a little higher because I had to bend down too much to get in.
Inside, headroom wasn’t an issue, or at least not for me, but the roofline was a factor. But I understand why it has to be a bit low; it’s very much part of the look and attitude of the car.
The driver’s seat was exceptional – I can’t say enough good things about it. It has been AGR (expert) approved. The difference between a good seat and a bad seat for your back and thighs can be felt on a short ride.
Another area of real improvement was the ride where I got good road feel and a strong sense of balance.
The 1.2 liter petrol engine in my test car had a pleasant bubble. I know, as I’ve written before, that some reviewers didn’t like this, but I did and found it added a bit of sportiness. The engine certainly delivered plenty of momentum with its 130 hp base.
While the experts tell us that most people don’t bother with entry-level models, the Astra might warrant a second look because I think there’s a lot of stuff in there.
It includes the Pure Panel generation of digital cockpits; a 10-inch touchscreen, 10-inch color driver information cluster, cruise control, intelligent speed adjustment, single-zone climate control, 16-inch alloys and more
I’ve driven the diesel before and was also impressed by its dynamics, so I had a good feeling about the car.
But would I buy it? Yes. It’s a big step forward on all fronts. It is by far the most beautiful Opel has ever built
and has its fair touch of dynamism.
Opel expects 1,000 people to buy one in a full year if the supply lasts.
It’s no longer in Nicky Butt territory.
Opel Astra Sri 1.2 petrol engine
130 hp six-speed manual, five-door.
From €27,995. Sri from €31,995, €200 tax.
Standard equipment includes: heated perforated leather, three-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel, dual-zone air conditioning, driver EGR sports seats, heated front seats, 10″ touchscreen, 10″ driver’s instrument cluster, 2 Type-C USBs, Sports-style bumpers, visor frames, 17-inch alloys, front, rear parking sensors, 360-degree panoramic camera, adaptive cruise control.
https://www.independent.ie/life/motoring/car-reviews/no-ifs-or-butts-as-opel-turns-a-corner-with-updated-astra-41861727.html No ifs or buts when Opel turns the corner with the updated Astra