Fans of the Opel Astra can now indulge in the youngest member of the compact-class station-wagon generation. The "Sports Tourer" continues a tradition that began with the very first Kadett in the early 1960s.
The Opel Kadett wagon was a revolution on its launch in 1963, explains our car man Reinhold – a compact vehicle with an enormous trunk, and originally called the “Caravan”.
Its seats were likewise completely new. THESE ones look more like camping chairs! But technology has moved on since then, and today between 10 and 12 percent of production costs for a new model go on the engineering and construction of the seats. To fill, us in, Reinhold has brought along an expert: Andrew Leuchtmann.
Modern seats are the product of a lot of development work AND money. Why exactly do they cost so much?
The biggest factor is safety, explains the expert from Opel, an area in which seats have become hugely important. I like to illustrate it with the example of a car doing a crash test – which everyone has seen on TV. The impact releases a massive amount of energy. And it’s the seat that helps to ensure the occupant stays put so that the ((08:11)) airbag, belt and all those other features can do their job.
It also has to be a lightweight construction, because of CO2 emissions. PLUS these days people expect ergonomic, comfortable seats. So all that combined pushes upt the costs.“
And on the visual front, too, the Astra Sports Tourer sets itself apart from the competition – thanks to the divided C pillar and sloping roofline.
The front boasts an all-new double chrome bar carrying the Opel lightning bolt, which merges into the LED matrix headlights.
The nice and wide tailgate opens and closes automatically with a little kick of the foot.
Measuring 4 meters 70 long, the new Astra Sports Tourer has a trunk capacity of 1,630 liters, 80 more than in the previous version.
The Sports Tourer is now bigger on the inside, reports Reinhold. There’s more headroom at the front, and more space for the second row of seats too. The rear bench is now split in three, with a 40, 20, 40 split. That also enables you to load long cargo in over the middle seat. The 160-horsepower diesel engine may have a displacement of only 1-point-6 liters, but has the sound of a far bigger machine.
Buyers have a choice of five gasoline engines with outputs of up to 147 kiloWatts, and four diesel units with up to 118 kiloWatts.
Among the many features are traffic-sign recognition, emergency braking, blind-spot alert and a lane-keep assist -- plus perfect smartphone connectivity, ergonomic seats and new, high-torque and low-consumption diesel engines.
Reinhold says the Opel Astra Sports Tourer is a sound alternative to similar models from VW, Skoda and Ford. Plus: the Astra is the only car in its class to come with LED matrix lights, adding a boost to night-time safety.