Opel Astra K, which is actually an Astra J facelift. An half assed effort that reminds me a lot of the good old Vauxhall Vectra C.
Why does it remind me of Vectra C?
Because the Opel Astra K seems to me the kind of car designed in a coffee break, by some people who know nothing about cars. They just took a random Vauxhall Astra J from the factory line and made some improvements, but that’s about it. Some kind of Vauxhall Vectra C for 2020.
And I wouldn’t have a problem with that, until I see that the asking price for a new one is 19800 euros (the official price on the Opel website, at the time I wrote this joke of an article) for the basic version. That’s like 3000 euros more expensive than a Golf and 800 euros more expensive than a Focus. And I’m not talking about compacts from budget manufacturers such as Hyundai, Suzuki, Dacia, Kia, Toyota or Peugeot. No, here I am talking about the most expensive compacts on the market. Still, the most expensive non-premium compact remains Honda Civic with 20400 euros, but the Opel Astra K becomes the second most expensive compact on the market. Why? Why would you catapult a car with dodgy reliability and reputation directly into the top in the automotive industry as far as purchase prices go?
It’s not even a completely new car, most of the technology and engines being brought from the Astra J. And I don’t know how to tell you, but at 19800 euros you get a pigly 105-horsepower 1.0 Turbo that isn’t even a heap of reliability. The only more comical car than that is the 1 Series, with the 114d version that comes with a 94-horsepower 3-cylinder diesel and an asking price of 30,000 euro car. 30 grand for a 94 bhp 3 cylinder diesel.
I’ve never been an huge Opel fan. That’s because they either made exceptional cars (Opel Carlton), or absolutely decent cars (Opel Astra H 1.7 cdti 80 horsepower), or cars as good as when you arrive at work only to find out that your department has been closed and you won’t be transferred elsewhere. (Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 cdti 136 hp).
What about the Opel Astra K? It’s like when Jeff came to Hell’s Kitchen and thought he was as good as Gordon Ramsay. Obviously, the brit rolled him into a pit of insults and general health words that were beyond the comprehension of the non-quitter Jeff that quit after 2 minutes. If they lined the Astra K up with the rest of the compacts, it would have been an absolutely decent car. But to make it the second most expensive compact on the market means to be aspirational. To wish, to know that you have no chances, but to still try. And this can be seen in the used market aswell, where it is full of Astra J and if you check the “Astra K” filter, you get 3.5 ads because you have 1 whole car, 1 lease and 3 are being sold for parts.
Opel Astra K Engines
- 1.0 Turbo SIDI 105 horsepower – An excellent engine for the base model, if we were talking about the Corsa. Also, this engine is notorious for Low-Speed Preignition problems, but on the Opel Astra K the reported problems are fewer.
- 1.4 NA of 100 horsepower – The last of the naturally aspirated comes on the Astra K and offers a balance of reliability-performance-consumption. However, is there still place for a naturally aspirated engine in a world of turbo?
- 1.4 Turbo of 125 and 150 horsepower – If you drive it in a chilled fashion, you won’t have any problems with it. If you let it sing, your pistons will literally sing. And the thermostat. The whole orchestra is especially the 150-horsepower, and the engine as a whole is notorious for misunderstandings, entanglements and issues with the automatic transmission. As for the manual transmission, it just has an appetite for clutches more than Simon Cowell has for sarcasm.
- 1.6 Turbo of 200 horsepower – This is reserved for the Vauxhall Astra OPC version where I don’t know how relevant the reliability is, but this 1.6 Turbo is related to 1.4 Turbo and comes with fewer problems instead. Or maybe there aren’t enough on out there on the street to get information.
- 1.6 CDTI of 95, 110 and 136 horsepower – The chaps from Opel are still using a diesel stolen…borrowed…bought from Fiat. The legendary 1.6 Multijet is for Fiat what 2.0 TDI is for VW, so you can be sure that this engine is taken to the top of reliability by all the pizza bois in Turin.
- 1.6 Bi-Turbo of 158 horsepower – The same 1.6 Multijet but with an extra turbo strapped to it. But anyway Opel has been at a loss for 10 years in a row so no one has bought Opel so I doubt there are too many cars with this engine.
Opel Astra K Reliability Issues
- You don’t get a spare wheel nor space for one. All you get is a repair kit that you can put where the sun don’t shine, while you cry on the side of the road waiting for the AA to tow your crusty buttocks and make you rethink your life choice that up to this point have gotten you towards driving an Opel Astra K.
- Rear brakes and calipers on the back tend to get stuck and leave you anchored in the parking lot. So make sure to park next to someone with an B6 Passat, atleast you’ll be anchored together.
- The infotainment is more lost than a phone in a taxi because the owner had just come out of the pub after having 6 beers, 3 shots, 2 more beers, 3 more shots, a bottle of De Kuyper and 2 more shots afterwards.
Opel Astra K Verdict
This car marks the transition from General Motors to Peugeot. You can still see the remains of General Motors in this car, and that’s because I continue to stick to the idea that the Opel Astra K is just a facelifted Astra J, designed in 5 minutes in a coffee break by some people who couldn’t care less about cars. To buy one? Again, at these prices, clearly not. Used? Probably. The market needs to be watched closely.
Which engines do I recommend? For gasoline I recommend either the 1.4 100 horsepower naturally aspirated or the turbocharged 1.4 125 horsepower unit. As for diesel, the 1.6 CDTI 110-horsepower remains an engine that does a decent job. Not great, not terrible, but decent.