Pros: more luggage room than hatch, styling doesn’t suffer, good interior
Cons: manual gearbox could be better, no hybrid pricing yet
Something of a household name in Ireland, the Opel Astra has just launched as an all-new generation that is unquestionably its most impressive to date. Following that up later this year is a more practical estate that Opel calls the Astra Sports Tourer.
Opel Astra Sports Tourer Design
This eighth-generation Astra is one of the most visually striking thanks in part to the company’s ‘Vizor’ grille design. With horizontal LED daytime running lights that extend to the edge of the black grille the Astra is instantly recognisable, continuing a new design that also features in the Mokka crossover.
While it does use the same Stellantis platform as the Peugeot 308, the two couldn’t be more different and even with the addition of an estate body style the Astra retains an appealing look. Cleverly, Opel has made the Sports Tourer shorter than the previous Astra estate by 60mm yet the wheelbase (that space between the front and rear wheels) has been extended by 70mm - to the benefit of rear passenger space.
Lined up alongside the five-door hatchback, the Sports Tourer has 211mm more length aft of the rear wheel, thus creating more cargo volume. Looking at the Sports Tourer directly from behind reveals how little the overall look changes from the hatchback. The most obvious difference is the relocation of the registration plate to the bumper from the boot lid to lower the load height. The Sports Tourer is likely to follow the same specification grades as the hatchback, which runs from SC and SRI and onto the range-topping Elite.
Opel Astra Sports Tourer Interior
Opening the door to the Astra Sports Tourer reveals an interior that is as modern looking as you’ll find in any new car on sale today. Leading that is what Opel calls its Pure Panel, which is a dashboard consisting of two 10-inch colour displays that appear to form one piece. Not only does it look good, but it also runs a modern infotainment system powered by Snapdragon and features wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so it’s right up to date on the tech front.
We also like that Opel retains physical buttons for climate control, window clearing and other essential functions. Cars equipped with an automatic gearbox gain more space on the centre console where the traditional drive selector is replaced by an inset rocker switch - though we’re not so keen on the piano black surface on the centre console, as it’s a magnet for fingerprints and it scratches easily.
Boot space is a crossover-beating 597 litres, and can expand up to 1,634 litres when the rear seats are folded. If you opt for the incoming plug-in hybrid model that boot volume does decrease slightly to 516 litres (1,553 litres maximum) due to the placement of the hybrid battery.
Opel Astra Sports Tourer Performance & Drive
Irrespective of which engine you choose, the driving position of the Astra Sports Tourer is good, thanks to generous amounts of seat and steering wheel adjustment, so almost all drivers will find a comfortable position. The multifunction steering wheel is also a good size, not too thickly rimmed and has button controls that are easily reached.
The engine line-up will most likely mirror that of the hatchback with a 110hp 1.2-litre petrol unit being the entry point. A 130hp version of this engine is worth the extra money as it gains a bit more performance at higher speeds. However, the six-speed manual gearbox isn’t as slick to use as those in a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf. Nonetheless, the eight-speed automatic is a good one and justifies the premium.
There is more pulling power with the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine, even though it has the same 130hp maximum power output as the petrol three-cylinder, but its extra torque makes the difference. If you do lots of motorway driving, the diesel is a sensible option to go for.
The plug-in hybrid model should follow and that will bring an appeal of its own when it arrives, primarily as it is capable of up to 67 kilometres if you’re on your absolute best behaviour. This version is by far the most refined version of the Astra Sports Tourer on account of how well insulated it is from exterior sounds. When the 12.4kWh battery runs out of charge, a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine takes over and the Opel begins to operate like a conventional hybrid. The good thing is that recharging the battery can be done in as little as 1 hour 55 minutes with a 7kW domestic wallbox.
Opel Astra Sports Tourer Pricing
Pricing for the Opel Astra Sports Tourer has yet to be announced, though it will most likely carry a price premium over the five-door hatchback, which starts at €27,995, jumping up to €30,995 for the 130hp engine. When the plug-in hybrid comes along it may end up being the most expensive version to buy.
Carzone Verdict: 4/5
The Astra Sports Tourer maintains the contemporary look of the hatchback while offering a more capacious cargo area. Estate cars in general often get overlooked in favour of crossovers and SUVs, but this is one package you won’t want to dismiss in a hurry.