Read Caroline’s Opel Astra Electric review for everything you need to know about Opel’s new electric hatchback arriving in Ireland later in 2023.

The Opel Astra is one of the perennials of the compact class. It’s been around for years and now for the first time ever, the Astra goes fully electric.

In 2022, Opel Ireland launched the new Astra here with petrol and diesel versions, followed by a plug-in hybrid. It went on to win Irish Compact Car of the Year 2023.

The new Opel Astra Electric is expected before the end of the year and is powered by a 54kWh battery with a range of up to 418 kilometres (WLTP).

Caroline travelled to Berlin to drive the new Astra Electric.

The Opel Astra Electric is expected in Ireland before the end of 2023
The Opel Astra Electric is expected in Ireland before the end of 2023

Styling

The Astra Electric shares the same sharp design as the rest of the Astra range. With the striking Opel ‘Vizor’ face matched to a bright colour, the Astra Electric really stands out as something quite sporty and exciting on the road. It’s a high spec car with a black contrast roof as standard and black wing mirror caps. Other distinguishing features include a small ‘e’ on the boot lid and a unique front bumper design. The Astra Electric also comes with a special set of 18-inch alloy wheels with an aerodynamic design.

Interior

Inside the Astra Electric feels instantly familiar with a cabin design that is identical to petrol/diesel and plug-in hybrid variants of the classic hatchback. There is a sturdy steering wheel and all the controls are logically laid out. The centre console wraps neatly around you for a driver-focused feel, with the drive selector falling easily to hand with a simple rocker switch. There’s a full digital instrument cluster for the driver and a large touchscreen that’s simple to use, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and buttons for the ventilation.

Like the rest of the Astra range, the driver’s seat is AGR-certified so it’s very comfortable and supportive, with optional Alcantara trim. The quality and build of the car feels nicely solid. Other features include heated steering wheel, heated seats, 360-degree camera, wireless smartphone charging, and a heads-up display – though final specs for Ireland are not available yet.

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

Practicality

Opel planned to put a battery in the Astra along with fuel engines from the start of development, so there’s no loss to interior space. The Astra Electric hatchback will seat five and provides adequate accommodation for adults and children. However it doesn’t feel quite as open and spacious as some electric hatchbacks in the back, like the ID.3 and MG4 that are built on exclusive EV platforms.

Boot volume in the hatchback is the same as the plug-in hybrid at 352 litres. That’s fine, though not quite as large as a Renault Megane E-Tech for example (440 litres). But there’s also a larger Astra Electric Sports Tourer expected with 516 litres.

Battery

There’s just one battery available and Opel pitches it as ‘right-sized’ for the car, without adding excessive weight. Opel Astra Electric uses a 54kWh battery with up to 418 kilometres of range (WLTP). A heat pump comes as standard to improve the performance of the battery in cold weather.

The Astra Electric uses a 54kWh battery with a range of up to 418 kilometres (WLTP)
The Astra Electric uses a 54kWh battery with a range of up to 418 kilometres (WLTP)

Charging

DC fast charging is possible up to 100kW giving you an 80% battery charge in 30 minutes. AC charging is possible up to 11kW.

Driving

Opel has made a few tweaks to Astra Electric including a different underbody and rear axle design, increased torsional stiffness by 31%, and measures to make the cabin quieter. There’s a new 156hp motor with 270Nm of torque taking the Astra to 100km/h in 9.2 seconds. Performance is fine but it won’t really throw you back in your seat! There are driving modes like Sport, Normal and Eco to tweak the car’s behaviour somewhat. There’s also a ‘B’ mode to enhance regenerative braking.

It’s a pleasant car to drive, with a good driving position and impressive refinement thanks to laminated glass. 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 a steady, solid feel. And a top speed of 170km/h should you find yourself in Germany!

It’s also very efficient with consumption as low as 14.8kWh per 100 kilometres, which is surprisingly easy to replicate in reality.

Boot space in the Astra Electric
Boot space in the Astra Electric

Pricing

The Opel Astra Electric SC is available from €39,597, while the GS model is available from €42,543. Prices inclusive of SEAI grant and VRT relief

Verdict

Opel is on a charge now to 2028, when the brand will be fully electric in Europe.

Following on from the Corsa Electric and the Mokka Electric, new Astra Electric gives the German car brand a presence in the market for compact electric hatchbacks.

It’s stiff competition, battles being fought over not just range and technology, but also on price.

Yet there is a familiarity to the Astra Electric that for some buyers will make the switch to electric a whole lot easier.

The Astra Electric stands out for much of the great qualities of the rest of the range – the sharp, sporty styling, the classic cabin and the sweetness of the drive. But builds on it with zero tailpipe emissions and an extra helping of smoothness and refinement.

Pricing will be announced closer to the launch of Astra Electric at the end of 2023

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Written by Caroline Kidd

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

The Astra Electric is a good-looking electric hatchback
The Astra Electric is a good-looking electric hatchback