Read Caroline’s Opel Astra Electric review for everything you need to know about buying Opel’s new compact electric hatchback in Ireland.

The Opel Astra is one of Ireland’s favourite compact cars and has been for a very long time. Now Opel Ireland has introduced the all-new Opel Astra Electric, which joins the petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid already on sale in the Astra range.

Opel expects to be selling just electric vehicles from as soon as 2028 in Europe and has been slowly electrifying key models like the Corsa and the Mokka.

The upcoming new Grandland and Frontera will also feature electric powertrains for the very first time, though they will be sold alongside fuel engine variants for some time to come.

Opel is also promoting some attractive offers for the Astra Electric range this summer. This model usually starts from €39,598 but for a limited time it’s available from €34,598.

The new Opel Astra Electric

What’s so special about the Opel Astra Electric?

The Astra Electric uses a 54kWh battery that gives a range between 405 and 416 kilometres (WLTP). It rivals other electric hatchbacks like the Peugeot e-308, Volkswagen ID.3, the Renault Megane E-Tech and MG4, and does it in considerable style.

The Astra is a good-looking car and Opel hasn’t strayed from its original lines for the electric version. Only real car aficionados will be able to spot the difference – clues include a small ‘e’ badge on the boot lid, a slightly different front bumper design and unique aerodynamic alloy wheel designs.

Finished in Voltaic Blue, this car is a real eye-catcher. There are three trim levels to choose from – SC, Elegance and GS – with the GS model standing out for its black roof and wing mirror caps, high-tech matrix LED headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels. At the front and back, Opel’s blitz logo is blacked out.

The sporty GS model retails from a cool €43,993, but for a limited time is available from €38,993.

Inside, the Astra is a straightforward affair with a simple charm and quality feel that will feel instantly familiar to Astra buyers.

The cabin of the Astra Electric
The cabin of the Astra Electric

Inside the Astra

Controls are all logically laid out and there is a good balance between digital screens and buttons to pull up menus quickly and adjust the climate control settings. A touchscreen comes as standard across the range and blends into a full digital driver display. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included for seamless smartphone integration.

The fit and finish is good too. There are some exposed panels of scratchy plastics but softer materials too. The Alcantara/leather effect seats in the GS model are a highlight. The driver’s seat is AGR approved and is one of the most comfortable and supportive seats in the compact class. The GS model also adds power adjustment, which is a nice feature to have.

Other features include heated steering wheel, heated front seats, 360-degree camera, wireless smartphone charging and a head-up display.

At 352 litres, the Astra’s boot will fit a few bags or suitcases but is not as large as that in the petrol and diesel versions. A Megane E-Tech has a larger and deeper boot with a handy underfloor storage compartment for the charging cables. The Astra unfortunately does not have anywhere clever to store the cables and there’s no storage compartment under the bonnet either.

The Astra Electric has a range between 405 and 416 kilometres (WLTP)
The Astra Electric has a range between 405 and 416 kilometres (WLTP)

There’s no change in passenger space inside the Astra so it will sit two adults comfortably though there’s not a huge amount of spare legroom on offer. Still it’s finished nicely and features a few creature comforts like an armrest and USB-C port for charging devices.

Driving the electric Astra

The Astra Electric uses parent company Stellantis Group’s new 54kWh battery. It’s a lithium-ion battery and appears across the company’s electric cars. Opel describes it as ‘right-sized’ for the Astra, without adding excessive weight.

It also gets a different underbody and rear axle design to other Astras, increased torsional stiffness by 31% and measures to make the cabin quieter.

Certainly the Astra Electric feels very natural on the road. It’s easy to drive and though it’s not quite as athletic as the Astra petrol or diesel, it makes up for it in the sheer smoothness and quietness of the driving experience. Laminated glass and improved insulation ensures a refined driving experience.

Being an Opel it’s also ‘Autobahn-proof’ with well-weighted steering that means it’s easy to keep in lane on the motorway and contributes to a steady, solid feel.

The boot loses some capacity compared to petrol and diesel Astras
The boot of Astra Electric loses some capacity compared to petrol and diesel Astras

This car is front wheel drive with a 156hp motor, 270Nm of torque and 0-100km/h in 9.2 seconds. It’s not blisteringly quick to drive but it doesn’t need to be. A bias towards efficiency seems much more sensible at this part of the market.

Drive modes include Sport, Normal and Eco. There’s also a B mode accessed through the gear selector for a nice, regenerative braking effect. A heat pump is also included. Consumption can be as low as 14.8kWh per 100 kilometres and that’s easy to replicate in real world driving.

The Astra is capable of DC fast charging up to 100kW for an 80% battery charge in 30 minutes. AC charging is possible up to 11kW. You can find your nearest charge points through the navigation system.

Did you like it?

The Opel Astra Electric is a fine effort to power an icon of the compact class using just battery power alone. It feels different yet familiar to its petrol and diesel counterparts. The quietness and smoothness of the drive means it’s miles ahead in terms of refinement but the cabin is so conventionally designed that it certainly won’t ruffle any feathers.

The Astra does face stiff competition from a line of worthy contenders, the MG4 and ID.3 to name just two. Astra Electric has good looks on its side, familiarity and efficiency. It may not be spectacular enough to challenge the bestsellers, but Opel’s current offers certainly make it worth a look.

The Astra Electric is the next chapter in Opel's electrification story
The Astra Electric is the next chapter in Opel’s electrification story

 

WATCH A VIDEO REVIEW OF THE OPEL ASTRA ELECTRIC

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year