8 July 2024

Review: Opel Astra BEV - Trish Whelan, Irish Car

The addition of an all-electric version to the Opel Astra range alongside the diesel and petrol offerings completes the model line-up. My latest Opel test car was the Astra 5-door hatchback small family car that has now ‘gone electric’ for the first time in its long successful history. Astra competes in the C-segment and is developed and produced by the German automaker since 1991 when it was a replacement for the Kadett. 

The Corsa remains the brand’s mainstay with 583 units sold so far this year followed by Mokka on 493, then Astra with 255 cars sold which is already up 13.33pc on last year so the new car is making its mark with buyers. 

This BEV version looks mostly the same as its petrol and diesel siblings with some exceptions including a small ‘e’ at the rear to signify it is an electric car. With its modern styling, Astra is a car with plenty of attitude that will appeal to a lot of buyers. Truth to tell, I wasn’t much taken with the car’s exterior Voltaic Blue colour but there are many options to choose from. The stylish cabin is a lovely place to spend time in for long journeys with space for five adults. Seats, in jet black Alcantara suede in my top GS spec, looked the business and proved very comfy - front seats are AGR-certified which means this independent German association has certified them as ergonomic for back-pain prevention. The driver’s seat has 8-way power adjustments while the passenger has manual ones. Those occupying the two outer rear seats can enjoy decent head and enough legroom while the person in the smaller middle seat has restricted leg and foot space due to the transmission tunnel. The rear middle seat back comes down to reveal two cupholders and a hatch through to the boot. There are air vents in the rear and a USB charging port. 

The stylish dash features Opel’s Pure Panel layout, a high-tech digital black cockpit which includes a 10-inch colour touchscreen angled towards the driver, and an equally sized digital driver instrument cluster with all essential information. I was glad to see two rows of physical buttons below the central screen for easy access to some key functions like front seats heaters, heated steering wheel, a ‘Home’ button, A/C, heated windscreen and rear window controls, and up and down arrows for the dual zone climate control. Below these you’ll find a wireless phone charger, two small type C USBs, and a 12V power socket. Alloy pedals complete the sporty ambience. Storage areas include a bucket glovebox, excellent door bins, some storage areas on the central console flat, and a good area below the twin-door front armrest. 

Luggage capacity is a decent 352 litres which can be expanded to 1,268 litres with rear seats folded forward. The boot floor is high, and there’s space below Entry and mid grades are SC and Elegance. All come with a generous list of standard equipment that includes Eco LED daytime running lamps, automatic LED high beam assist headlamp control, front fog lights. My GS specced car had Park Assist front and rear sensors with 360deg panoramic camera which greatly helped when parking in tight spaces. Other useful items were keyless entry and start, Hill start assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Alerts on side mirrors, and Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. There’s only a puncture repair kit. Drive modes are Normal, Sport, and Eco for maximum range and energy efficiency. 

Opel uses the same 54kWh lithium-ion battery to store energy that other models in the Stellantis Group also use such as Peugeot/Citroen/Fiat; the electric motor delivers 156hp and 270Nm of torque which ensures quick take off. Automatic transmission is a single speed unit. The company claims a range of 418 kms on a single full charge which should satisfy most daily work commuters. During my week long time with the car, I found it to be an accurate claim. My car was 100pc charged when I collected it showing a range of 422km. The official combined consumption figure circa 14.8kWh/100km was aided by the heat pump and regeneration braking system garnered with urban driving. You can increase this energy recovery by pressing the ‘B’ button on the gear lever. DC charging from 20-80pc with a fast charger (100kW) will take 26mins approximately. Charging with a home wallbox will take 8hrs. A neat case contains the charging cables. 

The car is really quiet and refined on country roads or in urban areas, is plenty agile and a real joy to drive on the motorways. I found the steering a bit light at first, but quickly got used to it. A car I would gladly recommend in any of its guises. 

The battery warranty is 3 years/100,000km/70pc capacity. Annual tax is €120. With Opel’s current €5,000 Eco Bonus, plus the SEAI grant and VRT allowance, a level one Astra SC Electric model now retails from €34,598 plus delivery related charges, representing a cost saving of €2,697.