General Motors South Africa has introduced a number of styling and specification changes across the Opel Astra hatch range.
These revisions impact on exterior styling, interior trim, and revised technical specifications in line with local preferences. Along with these changes comes an aggressive new pricing structure.
"With the introduction of the Opel Astra for the 2013 model year we have adopted a number of external, and internal styling changes that refresh the inherent continental styling appeal of the Astra," says Malcolm Gauld, GM South Africa's Vice President Vehicles Sales Service and Marketing.
"Customer expectations are a dynamic area of the market that we continually monitor to ensure that we are always able to offer an excellent value proposition. The changes to the Astra line-up reflect changing customer preferences."
Opel has shifted away from "nice-to-have" but seldom used specification items in favour of a specification that offers a degree of cost saving. To satisfy this market requirement, they have reviewed the specification versus pricing across the Astra Hatch range and together with Opel in Germany arrived at a formula that enabled them to reduce the cost of the Astra and increase its competitiveness in the popular C segment of the passenger vehicle market.
External styling changes feature a revised grille with the distinctive Opel insignia now mounted, centred top to bottom, in a wing shaped chrome embellishment together with a redesigned front bumper with a more pronounced lower grille section. The new frontal styling is completed with an update for the fog lights and turn indicators.
At the rear, the new Astra is defined by new chrome detailing, a revised bumper design and new treatment for the licence-plate holder. The exterior styling package is completed with revised styling for the alloy rims across the range. Interior styling changes include the introduction of new contemporary trim materials and mouldings.
First up in the range is the Astra 1.6 Essentia. This model retains its high level of specification in keeping with competitive offerings in its price range but without cruise control, rear electric windows, and curtain side airbags. The revised price of this model has reduced from R235 200 to R231 000.
New in the line-up is the Astra 1.4T Essentia Plus. This offers essentially the same specification level as the Astra 1.6 Essentia but includes electric windows at the rear, cruise control, and curtain side airbags. The 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine is replaced by a 1.4-litre turbo engine.
This new engine makes 103kW and 200Nm available across a wide engine operating range of between 1850 and 4900rpm. Maximum speed is 202km/h with acceleration from zero to 100km/h achievable in under ten seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 5.9 litres per 100km in the combined cycle. This model is offered at R248 000 and effectively replaces the Astra 1.4T Enjoy Plus, which is no longer available.
The Astra 1.4T Enjoy specification now includes rain-sensing windscreen wipers, an anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, and auto headlights. This improved specification level is offered at R257 000.
The Astra 1.6T Sport continues in the range with no specification changes but with a price reduction from R301 900 to R298 500. This model makes 132kW and 230Nm, hitting 100km/h in 8.5 seconds. The combined cycle fuel economy is 6.8 litres per 100km.
All Astras are covered by a five-year or 120 000km warranty and five-year or 90 000km Service Plan.