Opel Astra Hybrid 180 Ultimate test: successful Franco-German plug-in hybrid

Opel Astra has been around for 30 years. However, it never overshadowed the Golf, another iconic German. But that was before the marriage between Opel and PSA and the use of a platform shared by the Peugeot 308 and DS 4: EMP2 version 3.

In addition to the platform, Astra adopts Peugeot 308 engines, namely two petrol engines, a diesel and two plug-in hybrids with 180 and 225 hp. (last one coming later).

The Astra we tested has a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to an 81kW (110hp) electric motor. Everything is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission (AT-8). The total power reaches 180 hp. at a top speed of 225 km/h (135 km/h in all-electric). Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is achieved in 7.9 seconds.

The battery has a usable capacity of 10.7 kWh (12.7 kWh gross), which provides 60 km of autonomy (WLTP cycle) in pure electric mode.

The Opel Astra plug-in hybrid is offered in five trim levels (Edition, Elegance, Elegance Business, GS Line and Ultimate) with prices ranging from 35,550 to 43,000 euros.

The competition promises to be fierce, especially with the Peugeot 308 and Citroën C4, but also with the Renault Mégane E-Tech, Seat Leon e-Hybrid, Golf eHybrid, Ford Focus and even the Kia Ceed SW.

This new Opel Astra is 4mm longer than the old one. It claims 4.37m long, 1.86m wide and 1.44m high. As for the wheelbase, count an extra 13mm by 2.68m.

In addition to the platform, Opel adopted some elements such as door handles and mirrors from the Peugeot 308. A characteristic feature of this sixth generation Astra is the successful integration of the famous Vizor grille successfully introduced in the second generation Mocha. This lacquered black panel, inspired by the Opel Manta A coupe, has become a hallmark of Opel.

Behind him are adaptive Intelli-Lux headlights with 84 LEDs each, a camera and the famous Blitz, the brand logo. The Opel Astra wants to be more coherent than the Peugeot 308, whose body design may bother some of the brand’s regulars.

There is a certain German austerity inside. The only note of fun is the red inserts, not a very happy marriage, knowing that the body is gold. If the build quality is uncompromising, it’s a pity that plastic is ubiquitous, especially in some of the lower parts like the door pockets.

In some places, however, there are “foamed” elements, for example, on the dashboard, armrests, the top of the center console stowage compartment or on the storm doors. On the other hand, it will be necessary to put a duster on all shiny or varnished plastics, in particular at the level of the center console, real fingerprint cleaners.

Let’s give a good score to the seats, which in our Ultimate version are upholstered in nappa leather and Alcantara under-trimmed. Welcoming, they offer good support. They are also AGR-certified, a mark awarded by ergonomics experts. The comfort of passengers in the back is not forgotten, at least if you are driving together in the back.

Despite the roof structure receding towards the rear of the luggage compartment, there is sufficient roof height and sufficient light. On the other hand, it’s always the same refrain with the average passenger having to deal with the growth of the center console.

Those who talk about hybridization are talking about the effect on boot volume, which increases from 422 liters in the thermal version to 352 liters in the battery hybrid, or 70 liters less. When folding the bench seat (2/3-1/3), the trunk volume reaches 1268 liters, but does not have a flat floor. The width of the trunk reaches 1.06 m.

Our test Opel Astra features a driver-surrounding cockpit with two customizable screens of 10 inches each (25.4 cm diagonal), one of which is touchscreen.

Review Opel Astra Hybrid 180 Ultimate

Review Opel Astra Hybrid 180 Ultimate

The Opel Astra is equipped with a head-up display (HUD) feature in the Ultimate package.

Dubbed Pure Panel, they are covered with a glass plate, giving them a mirror-like appearance. If the instrument cluster can display both navigation and vehicle-related information, the graphics remain trite, almost as austere as the cabin.

Review Opel Astra Hybrid 180 Ultimate

As for the screen dedicated to infotainment systems, it stands out for its brightness as well as its responsiveness and smoothness. Just like on a smartphone screen, various functions are displayed as neat icons. Depending on your needs, you can display full screen, prefer 2/3-1/3, or take advantage of splitting the screen into three parts.

Review Opel Astra Hybrid 180 Ultimate

At the bottom of the screen, a series of physical controls provide direct access to the desired function (heated seats and steering wheel, air conditioning, heating, demisting).



…and Android Auto, all wirelessly.


Opel Astra compatible with Apple CarPlay…

Finally, Opel Astra is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in wireless mode, available from the entry level (Edition).

Finally, the last highlight in our version, standard connected navigation offers real-time traffic (Tom-Tom), parking locations, fuel prices and local weather, not to mention remote map updates.

Review Opel Astra Hybrid 180 Ultimate

Manageability and performance

With a weight load of 1678 kg, braking is always a delicate moment. The Opel Astra Hybrid can surprise you with its agility and acceleration, especially in Sport mode, one of the three driving modes offered with Hybrid e and Electric. It is in sport mode that the road experience is revealed by smoother steering and an accelerator pedal that responds to the slightest request.

Indeed, despite sharing the same platform, the Blitz brand wanted to stand out from its French cousins. Steering, dampers and suspension have been revised. As a result, the Astra’s handling is very responsive, thanks in part to the low-speed steering that filters asphalt climbs too much. As for the suspension, they effectively soften the bumps in the road, while responding to the fact that 180 hp. little is requested.

This Opel also offers paddles on the steering wheel to free itself from the AT-8 eight-speed automatic transmission. But very quickly we give up due to the fault of the on-board electronics, which is constantly striving to regain control.

The start is made entirely on electric traction, which allows speeds up to 135 km / h. Mode B, synonymous with regenerative braking, can be activated from the gearbox. Just release the accelerator pedal to recover.

The e-Save feature, selectable on the touch screen, allows you to reserve some or all of the battery’s capacity, for example, for driving in future ZFEs. Once you drive in electric mode and reach the programmed mileage, hybrid mode takes over, revving up the internal combustion engine. Note that this does not prevent the motor from starting from time to time.

Interior soundproofing is excellent, but turn signal noise can quickly get on your nerves.

As far as driving aids (ADAS) are concerned, the Opel Astra offers the bare essentials: forward collision warning, vehicle and pedestrian detection, emergency braking, blind spot detection, lane keeping assist (without the ping-pong effect of the old Opel) , traffic jam warning, adaptive cruise control (ACC+) with Stop & Go, 180° reversing camera and 360° panoramic view.

If you’re talking about a plug-in hybrid, think about the battery. Our Opel Astra Hybrid is equipped with a lithium-ion battery with a usable capacity of 10.7 kWh (full capacity 12.7 kWh) and a WLTP range of 61 km.

Review Opel Astra Hybrid 180 Ultimate

During our test and on the track in the Portuguese seaside resort of Cascais, we rode very little in the city, preferring the coastal road, the mountains, and the freeway. So, on the first trip of 115 km, we noted a combined average consumption of 3.5 l / 100 km. It must be said that the driving was a bit dynamic given the many twists and turns of the Cascais mountains.

In all-electric mode, we were able to cover 46km, a far cry from the 61km claimed in the WLTP cycle. After it burned out, the gasoline engine took over. On occasion, our fuel consumption was 6.5 l / 100 km, but there is no doubt that he must fly with his family on board and luggage in the trunk.

However, in a rechargeable hybrid, the battery is never completely dry. Thus, our battery “hid” approximately 20% of the capacity reserved for the launch phases.

Review Opel Astra Hybrid 180 Ultimate

The Astra Hybrid comes standard with a 3.7kW on-board charger with a Type 2 socket. This is no miracle: it takes about 7 hours to fully charge. For 400 euros, you will have the option to choose a 7.4 kW charger, which will reduce the charging time to 2 hours from the Wallbox.

Review Opel Astra Hybrid 180 Ultimate

Strengths

  • Design.

  • Comfort.

  • Soundproofing.

  • The smoothness of the central touch screen.

Vulnerable points

  • Trunk volume.

  • Interface graphics.

  • Turn signal noise.

Conclusion

we tested we liked it

How does assessment work?

Admittedly, under the banner of Stellantis, this sixth generation Opel Astra represents a new beginning for the German manufacturer. Opel was able to take advantage of this new platform while bringing German quality. As a result, the Astra delivers a bold but uncontroversial design, an abundance of hardware, and build quality of materials that can’t be faulted. Drawback: Despite being well equipped, the price of this car is high with hybrid motorization, especially in the Ultimate package.

Additional Notes

  • Ergonomics and design

  • Comfort and equipment

  • Communication and application

  • Manageability and performance

  • Autonomy and charging