Read Caroline’s Opel Astra review for everything you need to know about buying the popular Astra hatchback in Ireland.

The Opel Astra returns in 2022 with a new generation of Opel’s perennial hatchback. Since the last version of the Astra was launched, Opel is now part of the Stellantis Group so this is a real fresh start for the Opel Astra. In Ireland, Opel also has a new distributor.

In recent years, SUVs have put the squeeze on cars like the Opel Astra and key rivals like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla. But before SUVs and crossovers became fashionable, many kids would have grown up in the back of hatchbacks like this.

These days hatchbacks like the new Opel Astra look like good value beside a similarly sized SUV. In Ireland, the new Opel Astra goes on sale priced from a very attractive €27,995.

There are petrol and diesel engines from launch, but a hybrid is expected soon and a full electric Astra by the end of 2023.

The new Opel Astra on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Opel Astra on test for Changing Lanes!

What’s so special about the Opel Astra?

Just look at it! The Astra is now one of the best looking hatchbacks you can buy. Since last year’s Opel Mokka, Opel seems to have real direction now when it comes to styling. The design language is sharp and sporty, and the new Astra gets the new Opel ‘face’. The brand calls it the ‘Vizor’ face and it’s a gamechanger for Opel.

The Astra kind of harks back to some of the great Opels of the past, while being really modern too. A black panel stretches across the front of the car with the Opel blitz blacked out in SRI models like the one on test for Changing Lanes. There is a sharp charismatic crease in the bonnet that brings the front of the car together in a perfect V. The ‘gill’ effect in the C pillar is a nod to the Kadett, the Astra’s predecessor.

LED lighting front and rear completes the great new look for the Opel Astra.

There are three trim levels – SC, SRI and Elite – which all alter the look of the new Astra somewhat. But SRI models (from €31,995) look the best to our eyes and offer a good compromise between price and equipment. They get sporty black 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, black wing mirror caps, and a black contrast roof, as well as that blacked out Opel blitz at the front and rear of the car.

There’s also a brand new interior and Opel has tuned the Astra ‘to make it an Opel’ though it shares much in common with other cars from the Stellantis Group like the recently launched Peugeot 308. Has it worked?

The interior of the new Opel Astra
The interior of the new Opel Astra

Driving the Opel Astra

The most affordable entry into the new Astra range is the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with 110hp or 130hp, and a 6-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed gearbox (130hp only).

On test for Changing Lanes was the Opel Astra SRI 1.2 petrol with 130hp and a 6-speed manual gearbox. It’s a fabulous option for this new Astra, well-priced and offering lively performance and reasonable economy for a petrol hatchback too. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres.

But the best thing is just how fun this car is to drive. For sure, I don’t drive many manuals these days with the rise in electric cars and hybrids. There is something distinctly tactile and engaging about driving this Astra manual. The handling is sharp and composed, and the car grips well through corners.

Being an Opel and a German car, it’s also ‘Autobahnproof’ so stays nice and steady on the motorway too! Refinement has been improved over the previous generation of the car, and the Astra has excellent road manners.

The 1.5-litre diesel with 130hp will offer better economy if you do a lot of high speed motorway driving for example.

We can also expect a new hybrid at some point over the next few months with two different power outputs -180hp and 225hp – and the ability to be plugged in, charged and driven electric for up to 60 kilometres.

The new Astra goes on sale priced from €27,995
The new Astra goes on sale priced from €27,995

Inside the new Astra

The interior of the new Astra has also been transformed into a modern, digital cabin. One of the first things that strikes you is just how good the seats are. They are ‘AGR’ approved, which means they are some of the best you will find in the compact class.

Cabin quality is about ‘middle of the road’ we would say. Everything in your direct line of sight looks good but the fit of some of the buttons below the infotainment screen and the exposed hard plastics in the door panels seem at odds with how polished this car is in other areas.

Still, the Astra interior seems to vibe nicely with this car’s modern, sporty styling on the outside. There’s a new steering wheel and new digital instrument cluster for the driver. Combined with the new 10-inch screen for the infotainment in the centre of the dash and you have a kind of wide screen effect that is very fashionable at the moment.

There’s also a wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto connection. Standard equipment is good and other features include climate control, cruise control, leather steering wheel, keyless start, and parking sensors.

SRI models get a sportier cabin ambience with some red detailing as well as alloy pedals, reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, and heated front seats.

So is it practical? The Astra will seat five and though some rivals offer a little more headroom and legroom in the back, you will be able to sit adults back there and children will be fine. There is Isofix on the two outer seats and a USB-C port for connecting devices. The 422-litre boot is one of the biggest in the class and also has a handy two position floor.

Rear seating in the new Astra
Rear seating in the new Astra

Did you like it?

The new Opel Astra is one of the most anticipated new cars of 2022 and it delivers. The Opel brand is really gaining momentum again with new models like the Mokka and now Astra.

The new Astra has got the modern update it needed. It is a car you’d like to be seen in, with a sporty and distinct design that helps it to stand out in the compact class.

Inside it comes well-equipped with all the technology features we expect from a car like this. The finish is a bit disappointing in places but when you consider the price and equipment of each model, it’s easy enough to overlook any shortcomings.

For people who enjoy driving, this Astra is simple and engaging to drive. The 1.2-litre petrol might not sound high tech in a world where the next big thing is either hybrid or electric, but for many people it’s the most affordable way to drive a new car.

So if you’re looking for a simple hatchback that drives well, looks good and is well-equipped, you really need to check out this new Astra.

The new Astra will soon be available for the first time as a plug-in hybrid
The new Astra will soon be available for the first time as a plug-in hybrid

Model tested: Opel Astra SRI 1.2
1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 130hp
Torque: 230Nm
Top speed: 210km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.7 seconds
Motor Tax: €200 per year


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes