Vauxhall and sister brand Opel are beavering away readying the new Astra for launch in 2009. Our latest spy photos have scooped several Astra prototypes on test in the Alps, as the engineers paused for lunch.
And it’s intriguing to see the cars the engineers brought for benchmarking: the inevitable VW Golf, a Toyota Auris and Ford’s Focus. The ensemble pretty much took over the whole car park. Hardly a subtle convoy...
So the new Vauxhall Astra is coming in 2009…
Correct. We’ll see the Astra in production form at the Frankfurt motor show 2009, but insiders hint there could be a concept version as with the Insignia show car.
Our scoop photos reveal the five-door hatchback, which will be the main seller. The sleeker three-door will be ‘very stylish’ according to CAR’s sources, and the estate will also be available from launch. Expect a Twintop coupe-cabriolet 12 months after launch.
Strip away the chequerboard disguise on this clutch of prototypes and you can see a practical five-door adorned with the latest Vauxhall/Opel styling cues. We hear it will get the scalloped side blade that gives the new Insignia such presence.
Click ‘Next’ to read more about the new 2009 Astra
What about inside the new Astra?
Our spies have also bagged the most definitive shot yet inside the new 2009 Astra. There are four deeply cowelled dials right in front of the driver and an array of switchgear that worries us somewhat; the current Astra is let down by a baffling sea of switches and the latest model’s cabin appears to be button-heavy again.
Key innovations inside include an electronic parking brake, incredibly thin, upright air vents and a split, twin digital read-out. But the acid test will be when we sit in the real cockpit in 2009.
And under the bonnet?
The new Vauxhall/Opel Astra will use the GM group’s new Delta platform. That means front and – on high-performance models – four-wheel drive, new suspension and a suit of new engines benefiting from direct-injection and the latest fuel-saving gizmos. Stop-start systems are likely.
Powerplants will stretch from a downsized 1.4 turbo to a rampant VXR model putting at least 250bhp to the tarmac through all four wheels.