The Opel Astra has been around since 1991 and has seen four generational shifts since then, with the most recent being for the 2016 model year. On the outside, the new Astra sports a much larger radiator grille with a smaller air dam underneath. The flics in the corner air inlets now feed downward from the bumper, giving the front end an almost mirrored effect compared to the last-gen model. The exterior lighting units are now more refined than before but keep the same general shape – as does the overall ambiance of the car. On the inside, the new Astra benefits from more space, a simplistic interior and plenty of new technology like OnStar, and an IntelliLink infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. With an all-new and lighter architecture, the new Astra also benefits from the latest engines like a 1.6-liter oil burner with 95 horsepower, a 1.0-liter with 105 horsepower, and a 1.4-liter with 145 horsepower.

Eventually, the Astra will make way for some performance-based variants in the future, but for now, it’s all about economy and comfort. Of course, competing against models like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, comfort and economy will only get the car so far. Just about every car that’s worth paying attention in this niche has some kind of high-performance version, like the Focus RS or the Golf GTI, so Opel better keep its game tight if it wants to maintain decent traction in this segment.

The new Astra isn’t exactly a huge departure from the outgoing model. In all reality, it’s really more like a refined model that represents what the Astra should have always been. With that said, take a look at our full review and let us know what you think about it in the comments below.

Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to find out.


2016 Opel Astra High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2016 Opel Astra High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Opel says the new Astra uses a “lean design” to give it a more athletic bearing, and thankfully, that isn’t just marketing talk. The Astra brings with it a new lightweight vehicle architecture that significantly reduces curb weight over the outgoing model.

The diet consists of numerous alterations aimed at increasing the car’s efficiency. Opel says that “every component was checked for compact design and lightweight materials,” and this is seen prominently in the body shell, which gets a 20 percent weight reduction, dropping from 357 kg (787 pounds) to 280 kg (617 pounds). For the chassis, Opel used high-strength and ultra-high-strength low-weight steels for material choice, plus compact subframes and weight reductions to the front and rear axle. The result is another 50 kg (110 pounds) shed from the curb weight. In total, the new Astra is between 120 kg (265 pounds) and 200 kg (441 pounds) lighter than the previous vehicle, depending on model and trim level.

The Astra brings with it a new lightweight vehicle architecture that significantly reduces curb weight over the outgoing model.

Aesthetically, there are quite a few changes as well. For inspiration, Opel says it took cues found in its Monza Concept, first unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. According to Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, each element and design feature of the Monza concept was crafted to reflect efficiency, and the new Astra follows suit faithfully. 

Overall, the new Astra looks leaner and meaner, with smoothed out lines and a newfound sense of aggression. Starting at the front, we see the Opel “Blitz” logo featured prominently atop double chrome bars connecting the two headlights. The design for the lights has been reshaped into a more straight-cut look over the apostrophe-curve of the last model. The front grille has had its proportions swapped, with the top section now enlarged and the lower section made slimmer. The fog light surrounds are now integrated into the lower grille, framed by two body-colored fins that visually cut into the matte black material. The hood also adds to this slick, streamlined appearance with a triangular crease towards the nose.

The profile looks significantly more forward-leaning than in the previous model, emphasized by a hard acute angle in the window line in front of the side view mirrors. The shoulder line is also deeply angled, pushing toward the newly sculpted nose with a heavy presence. The rear quarter-panel accentuates the hatchback’s raked stance, adding mass to the tail. 

The C-pillar is divided, lending the impression of a floating roof, a feature also seen on the Opel Adam. The taillights are restyled, now becoming thinner and longer, and framed in black. This gives the rear end a wider-looking stance, which is further underlined by deep creases in the hatch. Up top, you’ll find a shark-fin antenna.

Visually smaller, the new Astra is dimensionally smaller as well. Total length is 4.37 meters (14.3 feet), which is nearly 5 cm (2 inches) shorter than the outgoing model, while height is measured at 1.46 meters (4.8 feet), which is 2.6 cm (1 inch) lower. The smaller dimensions help improve several things, including aerodynamic efficiency – the new Astra has a drag coefficient below 0.30. 

To complement the new body, the new Astra comes packing with some rather upscale exterior technologies as well, not the least of which are the Opel patented adaptive full-LED matrix lights. These offer glare-free high beams, a feature Opel says will be available on the compact class for the first time with the Astra. 

The new lights are composed of 16 individual LED segments, eight per light, which automatically shift beam length and distribution to the given traffic situation. Calling the shots is the “Opel Eye” front camera. When the car leaves urban areas, the high beams are automatically activated, which according to Opel, helps the driver detect objects at the side of the road 30 to 40 meters (100 to 131 feet) sooner than with halogen or xenon low beams when traveling at 80 km/h (50 mph), yielding roughly one-and-a-half seconds of extra reaction time.

When the front-facing camera detects another light source from oncoming or preceding traffic, individual LEDs within the “relevant zone” are switched off, effectively cutting out light around the detected vehicle. 

Finally, the LEDs last considerably longer than traditional halogen or xenon lights, especially when individual LED elements can be deactivated according to the given situation without the need of some mechanical element to move the light source.

Side-by-side comparison

2016 Opel Astra
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2016 Opel Astra Interior
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2016 Opel Astra Interior
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2016 Opel Astra Interior
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While smaller on the outside, with a wheelbase that’s 2 cm (0.78 inch) shorter than the outgoing model, the interior of the new Astra is actually larger, offering more space for passengers. Helping this are redesigned seats, which now give the rear passengers 35 mm (1.38 inches) of additional legroom. The distance between the front and rear seats has also been increased, lending a larger feeling to the cabin space.

Like the exterior, the interior layout has also been redesigned. With an eye to simplicity and clarity, Opel went about reducing the number of control switches and buttons. This is especially evident in the central console, where many controls have been thrown out in favor of a unit with a fraction of the inputs. The three-spoke steering wheel still features multi-function controls, plus a brushed-metal look material that’s continued in the door handles, dash, and central tunnel. Overall, it’s much cleaner and more straightforward than in the outgoing model.

With an eye to simplicity and clarity, Opel went about reducing the number of control switches and buttons.

Alongside this new simplicity in the user interface is a slew of new tech. Opel really went whole hog when it came to infusing the new Astra with additional gadgets, boasting that it “democratizes technologies and innovations from higher segments” and that it “makes innovations affordable.”

In truth, the new Astra comes with all kinds of new features not normally found in a cheap compact. First on the list is Opel OnStar, making the Astra the first new Opel model with the service at launch. Available 24/7, Opel OnStar offers a variety of features for comfort, convenience, and safety. For example, if an airbag is deployed, Opel OnStar will automatically alert an advisor who will then contact the vehicle to determine if further assistance is needed. If no response is detected, the advisor will then contact emergency responders with the vehicle location. Other services include roadside assistance. Additionally, Opel OnStar features 4G LTE mobile WiFi connectivity, offering a connection point for up to seven simultaneous devices, from smartphones to tablets.

Also new is the addition of the latest generation of the IntelliLink infotainment system. Compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, this system offers high-end app support for all your smartphone’s basic functionalities. For example, Android users will be able to utilize Google Maps, Google Now, and the ability to ask Google questions, as well as WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify, and podcast players. Apple users will get to use functionalities like Phone, Messages, Maps, Music, and several third-party apps.

All of the various infotainment system’s features are controllable via a color touchscreen up to 8 inches in size, nestled flush in the central console. You can also use controls mounted in the steering wheel or voice control.

The new Astra also boasts a bevy of driver’s assistance systems usually found in higher segments. Included is Traffic Sign Assistance and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, as well as Following Distance Indication and Forward Collision Alert with Collision Imminent Braking, all of which make the Astra both safer and easier to drive. There’s cruise control with speed limiter to keep you legally coasting on the highway, while Advanced Park Assist helps you when you arrive at your destination, automatically slotting the Astra into an available spot at the push of a button. There’s also Side Blind Spot Alert that can recognize obstacles within a 3-meter (9.8-foot) radius around the back of the car, outside the driver’s vision.

For comfort, Opel enlisted the help of the AGR (Campaign for Healthy Backs) to test and certify its new ergonomic seats. Additional features include 18-way adjustability for the driver, a massage function, ventilation, and seat-width settings. In the rear, passengers will be warmed with a heated function available as an option.


2016 Opel Astra Exterior
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To complement the new, lighter architecture that underpins it, the next-gen Astra also comes with the latest generation of engines, creating a car that Opel says is “more responsive, corners better and gives a much more direct overall driving experience. In a nutshell, the new Astra is more fun to drive than ever before.”

Every engine powering the new Astra will be part of a fresh portfolio of diesel and gasoline powerplants with outputs that range from 95 up to 200 horsepower.

To back this claim, every engine powering the new Astra will be part of a fresh portfolio of diesel and gasoline powerplants with outputs that range from 95 up to 200 horsepower. Cylinder count is either three or four.

Included is a 1.6-liter CDTI diesel unit that starts the oil burners at 95 horsepower and a 1.0-liter ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo that starts the gas range at 105 horsepower. There’s also an all-aluminum 1.4-liter ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo four-cylinder.

The 1.4-liter makes 145 horsepower, mixing performance with economy, with a max torque output of 184 pound-feet low in the rev range. Max power is also low in the curve, available between 1,800 and 4,000 rpm. And with its aluminum construction, the 1.4-liter weighs 10 kg (22 pounds) less than the forged steel unit it replaces.

Like in years past, high-performance variants are expected sometime in the future, although official details are currently unavailable.


2016 Opel Astra Emblems and Logo Exterior
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Opel has yet to release official details regarding a price tag for the new Astra, although it is expected to be roughly the same or slightly higher than the current model. That means you should be prepared to dish out $20,000 to $23,000 for an entry-level model, and more with higher trim specs and options.


Volkswagen Golf

2015 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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As ubiquitous as leaves in the fall, the Volkswagen Golf is a mainstay of the hatchback world. Currently in its seventh generation, the Golf features a wide range of models and trim levels, from the fuel-sipping uber-eco diesel commuters, to the rip-snorting, performance-oriented Golf R. While pricier than many of its competitors, each Golf features handsome exterior styling and precision German engineering, plus a superb fit and finish often hailed as above its price range. Pricing starts $18,000.

Read our full review here.

Ford Focus


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While not quite as upscale as the Astra or Golf, the Focus brings with it a sense of fun not necessarily present in either of the other two vehicles. This is mostly due to the drivetrain: either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 160 horsepower or a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder with 123 horsepower. A five-speed manual gearbox comes as standard on the 2.0-liter, while the smaller three-cylinder comes with a six-speed. A six-speed auto box is optional on both engines. While not terribly quick in a straight line, unless you go for the 252-horsepower Focus ST, throw it into a few corners and you’ll be smiling. Pricing starts at $18,960 for the standard SE model.

Read our full review here.


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Also sold as a Vauxhall in the U.K. and a Holden in Australia, the Astra is known the world over as an affordable hatchback that gets the job done. Opel has gone to great lengths to improve the car for this next generation, polishing just about every aspect of it in the process. It’s lighter, more efficient, looks better, offers slightly expanded space in the cabin, and comes with a range of new engine options.

Opel has gone to great lengths to improve the car for this next generation, polishing just about every aspect of it in the process.

But the biggest benefit of the new car is what you get technologically. Stuff like adaptive LED headlights, heated and ventilated seats, blind spot awareness and lane assist are not what you’d normally expect from a car in the compact segment. Easy smartphone integration with Android and Apple devices is most appreciated, as is the OnStar services suite. It’s quite the enticing package.

The only real drawback is price. Which of these features will be standard and which will become expensive options remains to be seen, but if Opel can keep the price low, I think they have a real winner on their hands, even in this hotly contested segment.

The Astra will make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Look to TopSpeed for further updates at that time.

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Jonathan Lopez
Jonathan Lopez
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Press Release

Opel and compact class cars – this specific success story starts with the Kadett in 1936 and will be continued with the new Astra, the eleventh generation of an Opel compact class car. So far, 24 million Kadett and Astra compact class models have left the plants. And now Opel is ready to add a new chapter to the history of its bestseller. The next generation Astra is based on an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture, will only be driven by latest generation engines and offers features previously only known from higher segments. The lean design makes the new Astra look more athletic than ever before. To put it briefly, the new Astra combines efficiency with elegance and will redefine the compact class segment with its innovations. The Opel Astra will celebrate its world premiere at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt this fall (September 17 to 27).

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“Three values are decisive for the new Astra – efficiency, innovation and dynamic performance,” said Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “Our engineers developed it from the proverbial white sheet of paper. The new Astra is up to 200 kilograms lighter than its predecessor – and its athletic design makes this outwardly visible. Its dimensions are smaller but both spaciousness and comfort have been increased considerably. Under the hood the Astra will only feature engines of the latest generation. Numerous technologies and assistance systems from higher segments increase the comfort and safety of the Astra passengers, with our personal connectivity and service assistant Opel OnStar, ultra-modern phone integration and the ground-breaking new adaptive full-LED matrix light IntelliLux leading the way.”

Saving where it counts: The new vehicle architecture

Lighter, more frugal and agile and at the same time even more comfortable – the new Opel Astra meets all of these demands thanks to its successful fitness program. The visionary Monza Concept, unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, was the role model for the eleventh generation Opel compact class car. According to Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, every element and every design feature of the Monza concept reflects efficiency. The new Astra follows this vision rigorously. Depending on the model and trim level it will be up to 200 kilograms – at the very least 120 kilograms – lighter than its predecessor. The completely new vehicle architecture plays a major role in the weight reduction. Every component was checked for compact design and lightweight materials. The bodyshell weight alone was reduced by 20 percent from 357 to 280 kilograms. Additional, chassis-related measures resulted in another 50 kilograms of weight reduction; these include high-strength and ultra-high-strength low-weight steels, compact subframes as well as weight reductions to the front and rear axle.

2016 Opel Astra High Resolution Exterior
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The end result of this fitness program: agility and driving comfort are improved in the new Astra. It is more responsive, corners better and gives a much more direct overall driving experience. In a nutshell, the new Astra is more fun to drive than ever before.

Only the best: The latest powertrain portfolio

The engine in the new Opel Astra supports this claim. Under the hood of every new Astra a member of the completely new engine portfolio can be found. Outputs range from 70 kW/95 hp to 147 kW/200 hp. The diesel and gasoline engines with a displacement of up to 1.6 liters all have three things in common: they combine highest efficiency with excellent responsiveness and running smoothness.

The 1.6 CDTI with a wide range of outputs starting at 70 kW/95 hp covers the diesel offer whereas the 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo (77 kW/105 hp) is the base level gasoline engines. The highlight in the Astra engine portfolio is the all-new 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo, a four-cylinder unit from the same family as the smaller but nonetheless powerful one-liter, three-cylinder engine. The all-aluminum engine will make its debut with 107 kW/145 hp. It impresses with dynamic responsiveness and high performance while curbing fuel consumption. The engine delivers maximum torque of up to 250 Nm very early. Maximum power is available between 1,800 and 4,000 rpm – perfect conditions for driving pleasure in combination with efficiency. Based on its construction, the new 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo also adds less weight to the car. The aluminum engine block alone weighs ten kilograms less than the forged steel block of the current 1.4-liter turbo.

Athletic design meets spaciousness: The perfect Astra symbiosis

The design of the new Astra also depicts efficiency and once again the Monza Concept was the role model. The evolution of the Opel design philosophy ‘Sculptural Artistry meets German Precision’ ensures that the new Astra catches the eye with a lighter, more athletic appearance instead of a muscular look. The Opel Blitz in the center of the chrome bar on the grill and the characteristic ‘blade’ raising towards the rear make the new Astra immediately recognizable as a member of the Opel Family. The front headlamps melt into the radiator grille to form a graphic unity. The most significant design cue is the divided C-pillar, creating the impression of a floating roof. The interplay of light and shadow is emphasized by the horizontal crossbar above the brand logo linking the rear lights. The Astra does not just look smaller – it is smaller. With a total length of 4.37 meters it is almost five centimeters shorter than its predecessor. With a height of 1.46 meters it is also 2.6 centimeters smaller. The dimensions obviously have an impact on aerodynamics and efficiency with the new Astra boasting a drag coefficient below 0.30.

Smaller on the outside but bigger on the inside –Opel engineers are responsible for successfully squaring this circle. The wheelbase may have been reduced by two centimeters but the amount of space inside increased. In combination with newly designed seats, the passengers in the rear can enjoy an additional 35 millimeters legroom. Furthermore, the distance between the front and rear seats was increased – this improves travel comfort and sense of space. The high-quality cockpit and the instrument panel seamlessly transfer the characteristic and aesthetic exterior design to the interior, thus ensuring that a new interior design generation is introduced in the new Astra. It is characterized by an especially clear look, also reflected by the reduced amount of control switches and buttons along with the large color touchscreen in the center stack.

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Help and service around the clock: Outstanding connectivity with Opel OnStar

All new models adhere to the principle: Opel democratizes technologies and innovations from higher segments, Opel makes innovations affordable. For example in connectivity. The next generation Astra is the first new Opel model that will be available with the personal connectivity and service assistant Opel OnStar from its launch. Opel OnStar offers customers a broad range of safety and comfort services. If an airbag deploys, Opel OnStar will be alerted automatically. An advisor will then contact the vehicle to determine whether help is required. If there is no response, emergency responders are immediately sent to the exact location of the vehicle. This is only one example of the advantages of the new personal connectivity and service assistant. Drivers and passengers can reach OnStar 24/7 and 365 days a year. No matter whether they need roadside assistance or any other service – an OnStar advisor is always ready to help. Furthermore, OnStar will turn the new Astra into a 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Up to seven devices, from smartphones to tablets, can be connected simultaneously.

In addition, the new generation of the IntelliLink infotainment system will celebrate its debut in the Astra. As it is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, it will facilitate bringing the world of smartphones into the car – a premiere in the compact class segment. Each system builds off of the features smartphone users rely on most. Android Auto is built around Google Maps, Google Now and the ability to talk to Google, as well as a growing audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify, and podcast players. A full list of supported apps is available at Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features you’d want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner. That allows drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third party apps. A full list of those apps can be found at The functions can be controlled via the large, up to eight-inch touchscreen located high on the center stack, via remote control on the steering wheel (volume) or via voice control.

Premium technologies for the compact class: IntelliLux LED® and Co.

The is an absolute novelty and safety highlight in the new Astra. The ground-breaking, Opel patented full-LED matrix light of the next generation enables driving with glare-free high beams and will be available in the compact class for the first time in the Astra.

2016 Opel Astra High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Consisting of 16 LED segments – eight on each side of the vehicle – the new LED matrix system automatically and constantly adapts the length and distribution of the light beam to every traffic situation. In the process, it works with the Opel Eye front camera. As soon as the vehicle exits urban areas, the high-beam lighting is automatically switched on – and it always remains on. At driving speeds of 80 km/h, drivers detect objects at the side of the road around 30 to 40 meters sooner than with conventional halogen or xenon low beam lighting. This gives them around 1.5 seconds more time to react. Dazzling other road users is also not a problem. When the camera detects light sources from oncoming or preceding traffic, individual LEDs in the relevant zone are deactivated, simply “cutting out” the area around the vehicles. The rest of the road and its surroundings remain brightly illuminated. With this degree of precision and adaptation, LED matrix light elevates lighting technology to the next level.

Not only does the system illuminate the surroundings brighter than conventional lighting systems, it also has a considerably longer running life than headlamps with halogen or xenon lamps. Another advantage is that mechanical movements are no longer necessary in the headlamp – the individual LED segments turn on or off according to the situation, which also contributes to durability.

Apart from Opel OnStar and IntelliLux LED®, future Astra owners can look forward to a string of further safety, driver assistance and comfort systems – many of which are unrivalled in this segment. The Traffic Sign Assistant and the Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning along with Following Distance Indication and the Forward Collision Alert with Collision Imminent Braking not only make driving the new Astra more comfortable but also safer. Cruise control with speed limiter ensures that the speed is always within the legal boundaries. Advanced Park Assist increases comfort and can park the car automatically at the push of a button. The rear view camera is activated once reverse gear is selected. And Side Blind Spot Alert recognizes obstacles within a 3-meter radius on either side and behind the car that are hidden from the driver’s vision.

The AGR (Campaign for Healthy Backs) tested and certified ergonomic seats are also outstanding. They continue Opel’s tradition in excellent, ergonomic seats and now come with additional comfort features. The new Opel Astra will offer 18-way adjustable seats for the driver. They have a massage function, ventilation and seat-width setting. And the rear passengers can also look forward to more comfort than before with the two heatable outer back seats available as an option.

2016 Opel Astra High Resolution Exterior
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The all-new Opel Astra is therefore not only safer, more comfortable, more attractive and more modern than ever before, it is also lighter, more agile, more aerodynamic and more efficient in every sense of the word. It is Opel’s road to the future.

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