Opel Astra 2015 - 2021 guide

Opel Astra ‘K’ (Mk7) 2015 – 2021 guide.

What’s it like?

The seventh generation of the Opel Astra – also known as the Astra ‘K’ – makes for a great used purchase. Modern enough to have super-smooth and efficient drivetrains, yet simple enough to not fox people who are reluctant to use a complicated in-car touchscreen to control everything, the Astra Mk7 makes for a sensible yet likeable second-hand family-car purchase.

Available throughout its life in five-door hatchback and attractive Sports Tourer estate body styles, the seventh-gen Astra came with decent GM engines in its earlier incarnation, receiving a raft of excellent Peugeot-Citroen Group (PSA) powertrains during its 2019 facelift. Obvious rivals include the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Kia Cee’d, Skoda Octavia, SEAT Leon, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, among more, but the Astra has enough talent to make it well worth consideration in such a widespread sea of used-car choice.

Which model to go for?

Prior to a 2019 facelift, which came about after Opel was sold off by GM and then subsumed by PSA, the Astra K used a variety of Opel’s own turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. These included 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre petrol options and a 1.6-litre turbodiesel branded ‘CDTi’. There was a higher-output 1.6-litre petrol engine too, for a short while, as well as a ‘BiTurbo’ model of the 1.6 CDTi, but we didn’t get these in Ireland.

After a modest facelift and tech update in 2019, the Astra switched to PSA engines. These came in the form of a 1.2-litre  turbocharged petrol unit and a 1.5-litre diesel, now badged ‘Turbo D’ rather than CDTi. Apart from the 1.6 petrol, with 200hp, and the 160hp Biturbo CDTi, all of these engines – be they GM or PSA units – make between 105- and 150hp; there was no ‘hot’ Astra Mk7, as the Opel OPC performance version died with the Mk6 in 2015. Gearboxes were five- and six-speed manuals, as well as automatic options which included a stepless transmission (technically a CVT), which mimicked a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.

Despite the relative lack of power or a halo version, the Opel Astra Mk7 is a very pleasant car to drive. It actually has a remarkably well-sorted chassis and some of its agility is down to the fact it was around 200kg lighter than an equivalent version of the preceding model, thanks to advanced construction techniques. It handles smartly as both a hatchback and a Sports Tourer, while ride comfort and rolling refinement are also impressive. It maybe didn’t have the most exciting interior design, but the Astra K made up for that with a suite of smooth engines, none of which really need to be avoided if you’re in the second-hand market.

Trims followed an S, SC, SRi and Elite pattern, with most buyers eschewing the loss-leading base-spec S and going straight in for an SC. This came with seven-inch IntelliLink infotainment, 16-inch alloys and a multifunction steering wheel on top of a serviceable-enough base specification from the S. SRi models aimed to look sporty and added more goodies, while the Elite was a luxury bells-and-whistles model with a leather-lined interior.

Does anything go wrong?

Owners reported that, earlier in its life, the Astra K suffered with both electrical problems and issues with the clutch. However, it is widely accepted that 2019-on cars, from the PSA era, are better built and more dependable.

Opel issued seven recalls for the Astra Mk7: three relating to the front airbags inflating incorrectly; one for wheel bolts not being properly torqued up; another for a fault with the front-seat construction; one for failing brake master cylinders; and a final notice for a leak on the turbo’s oil-supply line.

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