Vauxhall has released the first details of the new Astra’s interior, ahead of its launch in spring next year. Through clever "packaging" and a long wheelbase, Vauxhall has managed to maximise the space available for passengers while its new technology encroaches to an absolute minimum.
On the outside, the dimensions of the new Vauxhall Astra are among the largest in the segment: at 4.25 metres (167.3in.) long, 1.75 metres (68.8in.) wide, 1.46 metres (57.5in.) high and with a 2.61 metre (102.7in.) wheelbase, it is 35mm (1.37in.) higher, 44mm (1.73in.) wider and 139mm (5.47in.) longer than the current model.
Designers of the interior have created noticeable increases in shoulder room in the front and rear and, in particular, in the amount of headroom in the rear. Legroom for the rear passengers has also been increased, by another 17mm.
"The interior of the new Astra fits like a glove," according to Frank Leopold, manager vehicle integration and packaging. "It provides typical ‘feel-good’ dimensions. It boasts greater comfort than its predecessor, and not only because it is 30mm wider.
"The comparatively upright side windows ensure a spacious and airy feeling. And the slightly raised and lengthened roof contributes to the increase in headroom. Compared to the previous model, there is an additional 10mm in height and 40mm more length."
New Astra has large rear doors, shaped so that climbing in and out of the car is especially easy. They also make it easier to fit child seats. Long window panes in the rear improve the view for passengers as well as the driver’s peripheral vision.
Given the overall profile of the new Astra, a more significant increase in height was not possible. With Agila, Meriva and Zafira Vauxhall already has three higher roofed cars in its range. The new Astra sets out to be different – a more dynamic design, which with its class leading handling, needed a low centre of gravity.
Clever details abound inside the cabin: the rounded transitions from the fascia into the door trims, the structure of the centre console with its integrated central ventilation ducts and the flat design of the door handles are all elements which enhance the perception of space.Published 30 November 2003