Opel Astra diesel: a Germanized Peugeot 308, sober but uncomfortable

Opel Astra diesel: a Germanized Peugeot 308, sober but uncomfortable

It is the fifth Opel to take over the underside of a Peugeot, a Citroën, or even a DS. After the Grandland (3008) and Crossland (C3) SUVs, the Corsa (208) city car, the Mokka (DS3 Crossback), here is the sixth generation Astra, which steals the platform of the latest Peugeot 308! And even then we are only talking about passenger cars! All the utilities of the firm of Rüsselsheim (Frankfurt) are also clones of tricolor models. Logically, the former German subsidiary of GM passed into the fold of PSA in 2017. Only remains, in the Opel catalog, the large Insignia road car, still equipped with a chassis from the General Motors era, shared with models of the ‘American.

Since the merger of PSA with Fiat Chrysler (FCA) in January 2021, Opel wants to be, like Peugeot, a generalist brand with a “premium” vocation. An artificial marketing niche, wedged between Fiat and Citroën below, DS and Alfa Romeo above. Under these conditions, it is hardly surprising that the Astra VI is so close to the 308, rather than the Citroën C4, with the much more rustic platform. Paradoxically, the Astra is also technically close to the DS4, both being produced on the same chains in Germany!

Complicated ergonomics as on the 308

Only the body and interior differ between Astra and 308, as well as some suspension settings. Let’s recognize that Stellantis does things very well, aesthetically! Opel’s compact does not really look like the Peugeot, even if the proportions are very close! The Astra appears as a big Corsa, flatter than the Peugeot, with the bevelled muzzle of the small Mokka SUV and its black lacquered grille. The silhouette is rather pleasant, but the total absence of side protection exposes it to small urban shocks! The designers are very proud to have made a real Opel. We smile. Because the filiation with the Astra – except the very last one and again! – or historical Kadett is not visually obvious.

The interior, uncluttered, uses the principle of the thin tactile blade which provides the instrumentation and the central screen. A paw now characteristic of Opel. Why not ? It’s “contemporary”, “high tech” and everything that constitutes the arsenal of what the self-proclaimed experts believe to be attractive… From a distance, or in the photos, it’s the most beautiful effect. In everyday life, it is less satisfying. We deplore the simplistic graphics of the indications of the speedometer or the fuel gauge. Not very sexy. As for the central part of the famous tactile blade, it takes up the annoying provisions of the 308. Indeed, what previously required pressing a dedicated button, practical and simple, now requires an obscure journey of clicks of all kinds. That too, it seems to be “modern”.

Opel Astra VII (2021) - 6 Credit: Image © Opel


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