Opel Astra J Review after 10 000 Kms: great!

I have had my Opel Astra J for half a year now. So I think that it is time for a little update. In short, this car is really awesome. Well, in the configuration that I do have, meaning:
  • 160HP 2.0L CDTI engine
  • Ergonomic leather seats
  • Bi xenon adaptative lights
  • Flexride
  • 18" alloy wheels
  • Color entertainment system
  • Cosmo finish

What are the cool points that I would like to mention?

Lights

What comes to mind is: the bixenon lights are really a great plus. There is simply no comparison with other lighting systems. I works as adverstised and makes night driving very nice. Went from Belgium to south of France and it was really helping a lot.

Flexride

Works very well. It is like you have 3 cars in one. Tour is great on the highway or on bad roads (like we tend to have in Belgium). Normal is really good for everyday drives. Then Sport is the best piece if you want to have fun. My other car is an Audi TT 1.8T from 2000 (180HP) and the Opel Astra J is fun to drive too. A big factor for me since I have been spoiled by the TT.

Ergonomic seats

Ah, that's very nice if you have an aching back, which I tend to have at times (hey, I made it past 41 last december). Really well finished, nice leather, good touch.

Dashboard

The dashboard is really inspiring. I love the darkmatrix finish which makes it look like "tech" but in a subtle way. I don't like the "silver" version, it looks like a bit gross to me, hence the darkmatrix. The instruments are the same as the on the Insigna but are better because they rearranged some buttons on the console. I tried out an Insigna but the feel is bulkier there. The color switch for the sport mode is also funny.

Sound Quality

Great. You can pump up the volume quite nicely and the equalizer helps in getting the best out of the kind of sound you listen to.

Internal "red lighting"

There are some leds here and there inside the car and it is giving a fun feeling. I like it, my wife as well.

Enough space to put real size adults at the back

And that, without them having they heads bang on the ceiling. My mother in law has some back problems and she told us that is was joy to be driven around in the car.

What disappoints me

USB - No recognition of my Blackberry mass memory, Bluethooth - No A/V streaming profile

Come on, why is that? USB keys works well. But the BlackBerry is'nt recognized. It worked okay on an Audi MMI system. Why not here. We are in 2011 guys! There is the aux plug but the I can't control tracks from the steering wheel. Bluetooth streaming profile isn't there. You only get the phone link. Which is done right.

Some 'squeaking' at times.

I don't know what causes it, maybe it is a thermal problem or a badly done assembly. At times, I do get a "squeaking" noise on the right side. I have to find out because it drives me mad when it happens. It doens't happen at the moment tough. Check your car for that when you take delivery.

Rear view isn't always easy

Given the design of the car, you get some hard times with parking in the city. Lucky me, I've got the parking sensors (front and rear) but sometimes, it is annoying. But that's also related to the awesome look of the car. We can't have everything!

Engine noise

Despite the well done soundproof interior, the engine (Diesel) is a bit too present for my tastes. If you compare it to what they have in Renaults, it is really more noisy at low speeds. And you feel it in the steering whell. We also own a Clio 1.6 DCi and the engine is really smoother and less noisy. This one feels like a gasoline car. They should improve on that front. But on raw power of course, Opel wins hands down.

Some finger-undfriendly plastics

Some plastics are too flat as far as their surface goes. So, you'll have to clean them at times to remove the grease marks. No big deal, a concentrated liquid for cleaning windows works marvels. Some random toughts I wouldn't drive this car with anything less that a 2.0 CDTI. Okay it is more expensive, more taxes, more consumption. But frankly, this is an heavy car and low emission, low HP engines are spoiling the whole experience. Don't go there. Also, the Cosmo finish is the way to go (Sport is also nice). The mundane interiors and wheels they offer, along with no window outlines (just the plain black outline) don't do justice to the car. All of these do not come cheap, but that's the price to pay to have a car that can rival any Audi in driving it, and being comfortable inside. I have had Audi A4, A6, test drove an A5 (2.7L), had some tests with BMW 320d. And frankly, I do prefer the Opel Astra J. And the car as a good "curb presence". People do tend to look at it, but it is not like you've got permanent head turner. You can indeed go to places where you would fear leaving your car on parking. And that is a good bonus.

Conclusion

So, all in all, a great car, a great experience, and good value for money. Highly recommended!