General Motors South Africa’s commitment to Opel is often called into question. Opel was about to go, but then GMSA decided to keep it here after all. As a way of affirming its commitment to Opel, the company is currently in the process of launching two new Opel models onto our market – the Meriva MPV and the hot Astra GTC.

MERIVA:

There are two Meriva models on offer – The Enjoy and the Cosmo. Both versions are powered by a 1,4-litre turbopetrol engine that develops 103 kW at 4 900 r/min and 200 N.m of torque between 1 850 and 4 900 r/min. This engine is mated with a six-speed manual transmission and helps the Meriva achieve a zero-to-100 km/h sprint time of 10,3 seconds before it reaches a  top speed of 196 km/h. Fuel consumption is a claimed 6,7-litres/100 km.

Perhaps more important in a vehicle like this is the space and practicality. The new Meriva is larger than the previous model. The wheelbase is 15 mm longer, while the front and rear tracks have also grown by 39- and 45 mm respectively. This MPV is a five-seater and access to the cabin is via nifty FlexDoors. The rear doors have rear hinges and open at an almost 90-degree angle. Rear seats can be configured in many ways for flexible seating arrangements. As far as storage goes, Opel claims that there are more than enough storage compartments in the Meriva, so all the odds and ends can find a place and that luggage space is ample.

Standard features on the entry-level Enjoy model daytime running lights, 16-inch alloys, fog lights, cruise control, a trip computer, ABS and an array of airbags. The Cosmo model adds a leather-clad steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, a glass roof and some other niceties.

PRICES:

Opel Meriva Enjoy – R234 000

Opel Merive Cosmo – R254 000

The Meriva is covered by a standard five years/120 000 km warranty and a five years/90 000 km service plan.

ASTRA GTC:

For those who prefer performance over practicality, the Astra GTC is now in SA. It features strong character lines dramatic brake lamps that differentiate it from the normal Astra.

South Africans get to choose between the 1,4 T Enjoy with 103 kW and 200 N.m or the 1,6 T Sport with outputs of 132 kW and 230 N.m of torque. Those wanting to put these vehicles through a drag race will like to know that the 1,4- and 1,6-litre GTC take 9,9 seconds and 8,3 seconds respectively  to dash from zero to 100km/h . Top speed is 220 km/h for the flagship and 201 km/h for the entry-level. Opel claims a fuel consumption figure of 4,9 litres/100 km on the combined cycle and 129 g/km of CO2 for the 1,6-litre. Both are mated with a six-speed manual transmission.

Standard on both models is the15 millimetre lower sports chassis, HiPerStrut front suspension, and the Watt's link rear suspension. Also, the standard electronic driver aid package includes ABS equipped brakes, ESP, traction control, brake assist and steering brake control. Safety features include front, side and curtain airbags. Also in the standard package is cruise control with speed limiter function, Isofix mounting points, four-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats, electric mirrors and front windows, air-conditioning (manual for the Enjoy and dual-zone climate control for the Sport), daytime running light and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Sport model adds a hill start assist function, sports seats, a leather gear lever and chrome highlights in the cabin.

PRICES:

Opel Astra GTC Enjoy - R287 000

Opel Astra GTC Sport – R304 000

The Opel Astra GTC is covered by a 5 year/120 000 km warranty with roadside assistance. Anti corrosion warranty protection is provided for five years and unlimited kilometres. Service intervals are 15 000 kilometres or 1 year. A 5 year/90 000 kilometre service plan is included in the price.

Keep your eyes on CARmag.co.za for driving impressions on these two new Opels or read the April 2012 issue of CAR (on sale now) for Hannes Oosthuizen’s initial impression of Mervia.