The first images of the 2016 Vauxhall Astra have been leaked online. It has been seen testing in heavily disguised prototype guise, on public roads and at the Nurburgring. But these apparently official renderings are the first clear indication of what the finished product looks like.
Vauxhall/Opel, General Motors’ European arm, has struggled to turn a profit in recent years, having been hit particularly hard by the extremely tough sales environment in Europe’s middle market. The Astra, though a consistent top-five seller in the UK, has generally struggled against the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. Vauxhall/Opel is hoping the new car will mark a turn-around in its fortunes.
Though sharing roughly the same silhouette as the current, sixth-generation Astra, the new car’s styling is all new, expanding on themes seen in the recently-launched new Corsa. The partially blacked-out C-pillar with a chrome strip above flowing down to meet it adds a note of dynamism, though a lot of other manufacturers are using the same trick, these days. Overall, it’s a good-looking thing.
As with the new Corsa, the next-gen Astra is based on the existing Delta platform, albeit in heavily modified form. It’s shorter than before, thanks partly to lopping a couple of centimeters out of the wheelbase, and narrower. It’s also a lot lighter as well, up to 200kg depending on the model.
The Astra will also receive Vauxhall/Opel’s new range petrol and diesel engines (powertrains are a known weak point of the current car). A total of 13 options will be available, including a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol and the latest Whisper diesels. The engines will be backed up by new gearboxes.
The interior features completely new architecture, centred around a touchscreen infotainment system compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
A coupe-like three-door and long-wheelbase estate will follow on from the five-door hatchback, mirroring the current range. Prices could start as low as £13,000. The 2016 Astra is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year, before going on sale early in 2016.
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By Only Motors