This is not the first time that Opel has tried to poop on the VW Golf's parade. Anyone remember that ad in the 1990s with the Kadett tearing around a golf course to prove that it's “more fun than… (insert sound of ball dropping into hole)”?
It's a long-fought German hatchback rivalry that Opel continues to fight with the latest version of the Kadette's successor, of which a facelift and repositioning has been announced the day after the press launch of VW's new Golf 7.
Not that Opel is presenting an all-new vehicle here, but the Astra has at least undergone a mid-life facelift, for the exterior and interior, along with a slight price decrease on certain models.
As before, the range kicks off with the 85kW/155Nm 1.6-litre normally aspirated Essentia model, which sees its price drop from R235 200 to R231 000. For that you'll have to give up the cruise control and rear electric windows - and pray that no one side swipes you - as the curtain side airbags have been omitted.
Standard spec on the 1.6 still includes power mirrors, remote central locking, ABS, stability control, dual front and side airbags and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Next up we have a new 1.4T Essentia Plus model that brings back the rear electric windows, cruise control and curtain 'bags. Priced at R248 000, this model is powered by the familiar 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbopetrol motor.
R257 000 buys you the 1.4T Enjoy, which adds automatic headlights and wipers as well as an anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, front fog lights and a non-stone-age audio system which has a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity.
The 1.6T Sport turbopetrol model, with outputs of 132kW and 230Nm, continues at the top of the range with no spec changes, but with its price reduced from R301 900 to R298 500. Highlights here include a 'sports' chassis, 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, rear park assist and leather seat trim.
All models are covered by a five-year/120 000km warranty and five-year/90 000km service plan.
1.6 Essentia - R231 000
1.4T Essentia Plus - R248 000
1.4T Enjoy - R257 000
1.6T Sport - R298 500