“In an exclusive for CAR magazine, we travelled to Slovakia for a first drive of the new Opel Astra.

What is it?
The new Astra – the 11th generation – is the latest and the most important model in the Opel renaissance that’s unfolded over the last three years (there will be 29 new Opel’s by the end of the decade says Opel chairman, Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann). C-segment hatches might not quite sell like they used too, but to Opel and traditional rivals VW, they represent the essence of what these brands stand for. And for Opel that means a blend of innovation, engineering, build quality and value for money.

It looks good, doesn’t it?
The exterior design borrows some cues from the 2013 Opel Monza concept – a car that chief designer Marc Adams describes as the inspirational font for many of their future models. This new Astra is low, lithe and lean, with a “floating roof” C-pillar that tricks the eye and both stretches and lowers the Astra’s side profile.

Its underpinnings are parent company General Motors’ new D2XX compact platform that will be shared with, among others, the new Chevrolet Cruze. In the Astra it has resulted in a car that’s both shorter, wider and lower than its predecessor. Interior space, however, claims Opel has increased. It’s also a lot lighter – up to 200 kg over the previous car with marginal gain savings across all areas from the engines to the body in white.”

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