Opel has released details of its sporty new Astra station wagon. Based on the popular hatchback version, it will soon available in Europe, though its local availability is still being questioned.

Opel has released details of its sporty new Astra station wagon. Based on the popular hatchback version, it will soon available in Europe, though its local availability is still being questioned.

The Astra wagon has a roomy interior, thanks to the optional sliding rear bench seat. At 2,7 metres, the wheelbase is about nine centimetres longer than that of the five-door version. With dimensions of 4,51 m (length), 2,03 m (width) and 1,5 m (height) the wagon provides a load limit up to 500 litres reaching the rear seat back’s top and a maximum of 540 litres using the sliding rear seat.

Folding the 60/40 split rear seats forward – a 40/20/40 split is optional - expands the load space to about 1590 litres. And with the optional foldable front passenger seat, the maximum load length extends to 2,7 metres.

The load space is also more versatile thanks to the straight side walls, storage area concealed beneath the compartment’s floor, a side storage area and a 12-volt power socket.

The new luggage compartment cover is easy to operate with Opel claiming that “a gentle touch” is all that is required for the cover to slide back for easy loading. The FlexOrganiser system uses horizontal side rails and a system of nets and dividers.

There is a choice of five ECOTEC petrol and four CDTI common-rail diesel units, with power ranging from 60 to 150 kW. With displacements ranging from 1,4- to 2,0-litre (though the 1,4-litre derivative is not expected to be made available in South Africa), all units comply with Euro 4 emissions regulations. The two most potent diesel engines are fitted with a maintenance-free particulate filter.

With a maximum speed of up to 240 km/h and a zero-to-100 km/h time of 8,4 seconds, this wagon is no performance slouch. Transmissions across the range include the six- and five-speed manuals, a four-speed automatic transmission and the latest version of the Easytronic manual transmission.

Driving characteristics are underlined by the IDS (Interactive Driving System) with standard ESPPlus. By activating SportsSwitch, the driver is able to choose a sport mode with more flexible driving characteristics. These include modified steering and accelerator response with swifter gearshift points while using the automatic and Easytronic transmissions.

With automatic load levelling, Hill Assist Start and the trailer stability programme, the wagon is a star tower.

The standard SAFETEC safety system combines active and passive safety measures, contributing to the subcompact Astra’s awarding of the highest rating of five stars in its Euro NCAP evaluation.

With crash zones, CBC, traction control, and ABS with brake assist, on the list of safety features, the system also includes front and thorax/side airbags for the front occupants, curtain airbags for the front and outer rear seats, active head restraints and pedals that become detached when a frontal crash is detected. There are two ISOFIX child seat mountings provided in the rear.

Infotainment equipment first used in the hatchback model, including a MP3 compatible CP player, digital radio and six CD changer, are available in the wagon too.