herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Opel hatch an Astra-nomical plan to be best

For the last 18 months Opel have gone into overdrive with their subtle re-branding.

We've been bombarded with subliminal messages to drive home it's German origins while shedding the old GM image.

"Wir Leben Autos," (we live for cars) Herr announcer says with authority in his thick Bavarian accent at the end of a slick advert.

It leaves the potential customer in no doubt as to the car's nationality.

But the world of advertising is a fickle place and fancy campaigns, run with the trendiest of nite club tracks are one thing - delivering on the promise of a car with true German build quality and matching performance is quite another.

Opel achieved just that with the re-launch of their most successful model, the Vectra, and with this being the dawn of a new automotive era came a new name, the Insignia.

The motoring press worldwide were unanimous in their praise that the styling, drive, handling and quality was the polar opposite of the Vectra.

QUALITY

The Insignia quickly earned a reputation for being more compact executive than sales rep saloon and bagged awards left, right and centre.

It therefore comes as no real surprise that their family hatchback should inherit the same qualities of its big brother.

The same designer was drafted in to work his magic and it's evident from the now trademark scooping floorline which flows up the rear doors meeting the tail lights, giving this hatch a real coupe look.

Inside, the cabin has a much more upmarket feel than its predecessor but with a better driving position and it is positively dripping with on-board gadgets including sat nav and Forward Lighting which swivels to follow the road.

Drive-wise the 1.4 Turbo petrol - which bangs out 140bhp is punching well above it's weight and for the light-footed can manage around 40mpg.

It is not as refined or responsive as the Ford Focus, but then again, nothing out there is. It does have impressive green credentials with emissions of 138g/km which means annual road tax of €156.

Couple that with Opel's scrappage deal which includes three years free servicing (available on all orders placed by March 31) and you can't go too far wrong.

Prices start at a pretty amazing €17,745 but be careful of the extras list as the Elite model we tested shot up to €26,225 with all the goodies.

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