The seventh-generation Vauxhall Astra model will go into production at the company’s Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire later this year.
Vauxhall has just released the first pictures of the new hatchback – and it looks a cracker.
As one of Britain’s best-loved cars, the Astra has become a household name with more than 2.9 million sold in the UK over the last 36 years with over 50,000 last year.
And the model, due to receive its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, is smaller outside but bigger inside and up to 200kg lighter than the outgoing version.
Its engine line-up will feature both petrol and diesel units ranging from 100 to 200PS, the highlight being the all-new 1.4-litre (145PS) ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo.
This is a four-cylinder unit from the same family as the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine seen in Corsa, ADAM and the new VIVA and also adds less weight to the car.
There’s also a base-level 1.0 ECOTEC direct injection petrol Turbo with 105PS and a 1.6 CDTi ‘whisper’ diesel range with outputs starting from 110PS up to 160PS.
Inspired by the Monza concept of 2013, the Astra has been given a more lean and athletic appeal by British designer Mark Adams, possibly the most striking part being the divided C-pillar which creates the impression of a floating roof.
While the wheelbase has been reduced by 2cm the amount of space inside the car has actually increased, to the point that rear passengers can enjoy an extra 35mm of legroom.
And the distance between the front and rear seats has also increased for added comfort and space.
Meanwhile, Vauxhall says the new Astra will be the company’s first new model to be available with the personal connectivity and service assistant OnStar – which offers buyers safety and comfort services – from its launch.
For instance if an airbag deploys, OnStar will be automatically alerted, an adviser will contact the vehicle and if there’s no response, emergency services will be sent to the vehicle.
Another first for Astra will be glare-free IntelliLux LED Matrix Light to improve safety at night.
Consisting of 16 LED sections – eight on each side of the vehicle – the LED matrix system automatically adapts the length and distribution of the light beam to traffic situations.