Opel Astra

The new 5-door Opel Astra hatchback is built on the same new global Delta platform as the Chevrolet Cruze, and hopefully if this crucial model is as good as the Opel Insignia was, things will look pretty bright for GM Europe. As usual with Opels it will be sold in the UK as a Vauxhall.

As with most hatches sold in Europe there is a never-ending list of engine options available to suit the requirements of a wide scope of society. You have a 1.4 litre, a 1.4 litre turbo, a 1.6 litre turbo (180 horses in the Insignia), and a trio of turbodiesels with 1.3 litre, 1.7 litre and 2.0 litre capacities. The 1.4 turbo engine is new, and is said to eventually make its way into the American market. The higher powered versions of the Cruze will also eventually get this engine in certain markets.

Something different is the new “Opel Eye” system which is essentially a driver assistance camera mounted between the rear view mirror and the windshield that recognises raffic signs that indicate speed limits or overtaking bans and displays them in the instrument panel. It also provides a lane departure warning.

A public debut of the new Astra will be held at the 2009 Frankfurt Motorshow in September, and will hit the showrooms by end this year.

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