Besides the Corsa van , Opel is also commercializing the bigger Astra van model. The Astra van is significantly bigger than the Corsa van and offers a better balance between practicality and driving dynamics.
The van is based on the Astra estate and the old generation was available between 1998 -2006. To obtain the van, Opel removed the rear seats of the passenger car and replaced the rear windows with a set of metallic panels. The Opel Astra van was priced from $ 18000 and was available with petrol and diesel engines, with gross vehicle weights of up to 1100 kg.
The Opel Astra van had a conventional style which coped well with the utilitarian nature of the vehicle. The body panels had a pretty dull design, while the front end was also pretty simple. The hood was traversed by two creases which pointed towards the front grille and gave the vehicle a shy touch of sportiness.
The main lights had a nice elongated shape, but they failed to improve the boring look of the vehicle. The conventional design was also carried over by the bumper that was characterized by simple lines and a central air intake. The rear windows are paneled up and access to the load area is offered by a rear hatch.
Due to its compact dimensions the Astra van is no match for full sized vans like the Combo, but it still offers a pretty decent load volume which is rated at 1.6 cubic meters. Though, maximum payload isn’t something to rave about, the van being able to deal with only 610 kg.
The load area is 1.701 mm long, 1374 mm wide and 886 mm tall and is separated by the passenger’s compartment by a standard half-height bulkhead.
The Opel Astra van came with a pretty dull interior design that was a perfect good match for the boring sheet metal found outside. The materials weren’t something to rave about, but they’ve seemed pretty solid and capable to deal well with harsh working conditions without disappointing you.
Despite its boring appearance, the dashboard was fairly practical, while the central console had an intuitive layout and every control was placed within driver’s reach.
The Opel Astra’s instrument cluster was more on the basic side of things, but offered a clear layout with big and easy to read gauges.
We also liked the al around visibility offered by the generous glass area that surrounded the driver. The seats were firm and supportive offering a decent level of comfort even for long journeys. There were also sufficient adjustments to help you find your favorite driving position without too much fuss.
The steering wheel isn’t exactly our first choice when it comes to ergonomy or design, but it offers a decent grab and copes well with the rest of the cab.
Needless to say that storage places abound across the cabin and you’ll find enough cubby holes and consoles too keep you satisfied.
Engines and performance
The old Opel Astra van came with three engines including a petrol and two diesel units. The 1.6 Twinport petrol engine provided 105 hp and 150 Nm of torque at 3900 rpm. The diesel units weren’t as smooth as the petrol one, but the 2.0 unit offered more torque, hence better towing abilities.
The 1.7 liter diesel delivered a modest 68 hp @ 4500 rpm with 132 Nm of torque achieved between 1800 – 3250 rpm. On the other hand, the top of the range diesel engine was the 2.0 DTi, which developed 82 hp @ 4300 with a peak torque rated at 185 Nm available between 1800-2500 rpm. It’s true that these numbers aren’t as impressive as the ones from the newer vans, but for its time the DTi engine managed to cope well with the necessities of commercial transportation and offered a pretty decent drive around town.
Opel Astra van Engines Specifications
|Engine||Hp @ rpm||Nm @ rpm||Fuel|
|1.6 liter||105 @ 6000||150 @ 3900||Petrol|
|1.7 liter||68 @ 4500||132 @ 1800 – 3250||Diesel|
|2.0 liter||82 @ 4300||185 @ 1800 – 200||Diesel|
Ride and handling
The vehicle comes with MacPherson Struts up front and mini block springs at the rear. The suspension configuration is a bit stiffer than the one from the passenger car version, but the van still rides pretty well, being able to absorb potholes without too much fuss.
The good handling abilities of the standard Astra model were also transferred to the van, which is fairly agile and can deal well with corners. You won’t have any significant complains about the steering either, as it rewards you with a decent road feedback and accurate turns being able to tackle the bends with aplomb.
The Opel Astra Van was a good option for those seeking for a reliable and affordable solution to their commercial transportations. The vehicle offered an interesting mix between practicality and comfort and its cargo volume was more generous than the smaller Corsa.
The engines weren’t the strongest units you’ll find in the segment, but for their times were pretty reasonable delivering a good fuel consumption. The ride and handling were part of the first class and the van offered superior driving dynamics. The Opel Astra van was also cheap to maintain and had a pretty affordable price.