Unlike VW's rivaling Golf VI with its stale design language that keeps evolving from previous generation models, the new Astra features a new design and from what we reckon by looking at the photos, it will be a head turner. Its up to date and clean looks combine a sleek and sporty shape with the latest Opel styling cues such as the characteristic scalloped side blades and the Insignia-inspired headlights.
Opel has not disclosed any photos of the new Astra's interior yet, but thanks to our spy photographers, we have a few shots of the hatchback's dashboard that borrows heavily in design from the Insignia. Highlights include the four deeply positioned instrument dials in front of the driver and the swoopy central console with an elevated lower section.
European buyers of the Astra will be able to select from a broad selection of gasoline and diesel engines. Aside from an entry-level 1.4-naturally aspirated engine and the Insignia-derived 1.6-liter Turbo with 180HP, the Astra's petrol range will also include GM's new 1.4-liter turbocharged unit. It will be offered with outputs ranging from 120 hp to 140 hp and torque values of 175 to 200 Nm. General Motors says that the 1.4 Turbo engine will deliver fuel savings of up to 8 percent compared to the naturally aspirated 1.6 and 1.8-liter engines that it will replace.
The diesel range comprises of 1.3-liter, 1.7-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged units ranging from 95 to 160HP while Opel also plans to introduce an ecoFLEX version with low CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy sometime in 2010.
Depending on the market, the five-door Astra will go on sale in Europe this fall. It will be joined by a sporty three door fastback variant called GTC Coupe and the more practical station-wagon in late 2010 - early 2011 followed by a four-door sedan model and a coupe-cabriolet with a retractable hardtop.
And no, we do not know if the Astra will make it across the Atlantic and arrive in one form or another in U.S. showrooms due to the instability in GM's current situation and of course, the pending sale of the American automaker's stake in the Opel / Vauxhall brands.
*Click Here for an Updated High-Resolution Photo Album of the 2010 Astra