The self-igniter actually has no future. But in the present he still does a lot of things right, as a test with the new Astra 1.5 Diesel shows.
When the new Opel Astra drives into the yard, a strange feeling spreads at first sight. The chic retro front evokes memories of the good old 70s, when Opel models with very similar faces shaped the streets of Germany. Despite the actually modern look, the flash carrier awakens a feeling of nostalgia. This also germinates in view of its 1.5-liter diesel engine, because the Astra gives a more than sovereign answer to the question of range, which is currently so fundamentally important for electric cars. Just like you used to be used to as a diesel driver.
The on-board computer predicts 1080 kilometers with a full tank. That is far more than we would need for the motorway tour ahead of us. The AGR seat also gives us the certainty that the upcoming trip with the Rüsselsheim compact classic will be relaxed. This is also ensured by the modern designed and tidy cockpit.
Not everything is noble here. If you look around, you will also discover larger areas made of vile hard plastic. But thanks to the chic surfaces and materials in the crucial places, the guest room is experienced as pleasant and homely. And spacious. The almost 4.40 meter long five-door offers more than enough space on both rows of seats and in the trunk. It already swallows 422 liters, which becomes up to 1339 liters thanks to the rear seat backrest that can be folded in two parts.
As is now customary, the Astra cockpit also has two large displays. It goes without saying that it is possible to display smartphone content from Apple Carplay or Android Auto on the right-hand touchscreen of the infotainment system. Once the mobile phone is connected, you can simply whisper the desired address to Google and let Maps guide you there, taking into account the current traffic situation. At the same time, the desired music is streamed from the Internet via the audio system. Progress is also a good thing.
Less euphonious tones spread when the diesel comes to life at the push of a button, because at least in the warm-up phase its rough self-igniting nature is clearly perceptible. After that, the four-cylinder is also remarkably cultivated thanks to the excellently tuned eight-speed automatic transmission.
Imperceptibly, skillfully and nimbly, the gearbox juggles between the abundant gear ratios. The revs mostly remain low, but the early maximum torque always delights with a decent punch. If performance is spontaneously required, the 96 kW/130 hp diesel is anything but stingy and pushes the 1.4-tonner quickly on request. The sprint to 100 km/h takes just over ten seconds, and the maximum is almost 210 km/h.
It is relaxed to activate the distance cruise control via the left-hand steering wheel keypad and to put the situation-related adjustment of the speed in the hands of the on-board technology. If the motorway bends, vehicles in the parallel lane are sometimes interpreted as obstacles, which briefly provokes small braking interventions. But otherwise the assistants do their job well. We have set the speed limit to recommended speed, which allows for quick and efficient progress. Consumption rose to 5.8 liters.
If you want to, you will get by with less than 5 liters and, thanks to the 52-liter tank, be able to drive more than 1000 kilometers in one go. Such a mammoth trip doesn't have to be a deterrent at all, because the Astra's chassis smoothly filters out many of the rigors of the road. The AGR seat also ensures exemplary support and a maximum relaxed seating position. Wind noise is low. No question: the compact Opel is a master of long-distance with diesel.
At the end of an extended tour, he therefore allows a little melancholy to arise again. Driving a diesel is a lot less complicated than driving an electric car. There is also melancholy when looking at the price: around 31,000 euros are called for at least for the diesel with automatic. With a few extras, it easily becomes 35,000 or 38,000 euros. Opel is no longer as cheap as it used to be.
Opel Astra 1.5 Diesel Automatic - specifications