By Sala Masindane
Some manufactures go for a design language that stems from efficient economies of scale which lead to generic design on their vehicles. While there is nothing wrong with this approach it means the designs are more likely to lack individuality but offer mass appeal and if it’s individuality you’re after – then this is the review you have been waiting to read.
In typical individualism – the Opel Astra 1.6T Sport OPC-Line trim level comes with heated seats, sport mode switch, Navi 900 IntelliLink System with an 8-inch touch screen with dynamic navigation. This is kit that comes standard in this trim. The price starts at R508,000 and this makes the Opel Astra’s value proposition a tough one as it stands against some serious competition despite being feature packed.
Interior and performance
The interior of the car has made it to several websites in the top ten best interior categories in its segment, and we agree. Form and function are of high quality and for the most part intuitive to use. On the topic of easy to use – the increasingly ubiquitous Driver Assistant pack that combines lane keep assist, low speed mitigation braking and forward collision alert added to the ease of piloting the car and making the driving experience more relaxing. When relaxing is not on the cards you can rest assured that the Astra is light on its feet. The 1.6T engine is good for 147kW and 280 Nm. Power is always on tap and the sport mode ensures that you are not left wanting when it comes to exhilaration and to answer to your spirited driving needs. Cornering and grip is also kept in check by the super stylish 18-inch mags.
The good thing is that the performance is a direct match to how the exterior looks in that there’s a hint of drama but not to the point where it looks like an aftermarket disaster. This is one of the fewer cars where the design lines are visible in the stylish white. Even though we felt that a more dramatic colour like red would have been more suitable – this white does indeed have a hint of class.
Overall, we are happy with the updated spec and trim of the latest offering in the Astra stable. The question that still remains is whether or not the OPC-Line, at a starting price of R508,000 before any extras are added is worth the asking price with its standard service plan of 5 years / 90,000km and a 3 Year / 120,000km warranty and road side assistance. The answer is a tricky one because as a product – the vehicle is genuinely up to the task, but as it’s not a popular product – buyers who haven’t experienced the vehicle in the leather and metal will not be lured in by perceived value over the inter-webs.
It’s definitely a short-lister from our point of view and must be test driven to note its value and uniqueness over the competition.
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