Prototype reveals Insignia design cues
22 August 2008

The extent to which the bold styling of Vauxhall’s new Insignia will influence the next-generation Astra can clearly be seen for the first time on these shots scooped by our spies at the Nurburgring.A key detail exposed for the first time is the bodyside styling line, or ‘blade’ as GM describes it, which appears on the back of the rear door and flows towards the front of the car.Vauxhall’s chief designer, Briton Mark Adams, has previously stated that the blade will appear on various future models, “but not in the same way on each design”.

This prototype also reveals how the new Astra has grown-up, getting wider and taller than today’s car to create more head- and shoulder-room.The new Astra also promises to be the best handling ever thanks to its all-new ‘Delta’ platform, which features a multi-link rear axle for the first time.This suspension is understood to be a completely different design to the Insignia’s.Another Insignia-family look comes from the trapezoidal grille, albeit scaled down on the hatch with just three chrome bars in place of the Insignia’s four.The parallels don’t end there, either. The Astra’s bonnet features a similarly prominent central ridge and angular shutlines and similarly themed headlamps.Even the Insignia’s ‘bayonet’ type door handles and shield-shaped rear hatch.Vauxhall’s new hatch is a vital model for the UK and GM has already confirmed that the next-generation model will be built at the Ellesmere Port on Merseyside. The current Astra was introduced in 2003 and, due to the fast pace of change in the family hatchback segment, is now one of the oldest cars in the class. Despite that, it still regularly features in the list of the UK’s top ten best-sellers. The new Astra is expected to be seen for the first time at next year’s Frankfurt show with UK sales kicking off in Spring 2010.

Julian Rendell

 

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Astra 2009-2015

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

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