As a result of the synergies operated at Stellantis, the new Opel Astra shares its technical base with the Peugeot 308. A lioness whose mane the ambitious German could well mess up… First duel in the 130 hp petrol version.
Cars on test: Opel Astra vs Peugeot 308
|Vauxhall Astra 1.2 Turbo 130 hp GS Line|
|Peugeot 308 1.2 PureTech 130 hp Allure Pack|
Absorbed by PSA in 2017, which became Stellantis in early 2021, Opel is gradually renewing its range by taking advantage of the technical advances recently implemented at Citroën, DS and Peugeot. Thus, even if the Astra vintage 2022 aesthetically resembles none of its “blue-white-red” cousins, these lend it their latest generation chassis (EMP2 platform), their petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines, as well as their multimedia content. Rüsselsheim engineers to bring their home settings, for a more Germanic typing!
On the design side, the make-up is rather successful, with a “bon chic bon genre” look that is more rewarding than that of the previous Astra. Its false airs of Volkswagen Golf 8 in the treatment of the posterior are undoubtedly not foreign to it… Difficult in any case to confuse it with its French duplicates, the Peugeot 308 displaying for its part a more athletic design, if not to say tortured… We nevertheless find some common elements by playing the game of the seven errors (mirrors and door handles, for example), as well as identical proportions. To a small centimeter, in length as in height, in favor of the Opel.
The mimicry is more obvious when lifting the hoods, our petrol versions moving using the 3-cylinder 1.2 turbo PureTech, designed under the PSA era. For the time being, we have left aside the entry-level 110 hp version to concentrate on the version called upon to ensure the bulk of sales: that of 130 hp, mated to a classic six-speed manual gearbox, the automatic eight-speed requiring an additional €1,800 (Opel) to €2,000 (Peugeot). Above all, this engine gives access to a wider choice of finishes from the two manufacturers, including the core GS Line range, on the German side, and Allure Pack in the French camp, which are displayed with a standard endowment and close prices. It is therefore a tight match that is looming…
Price Opel Astra vs Peugeot 308
No more Opel at “democratic” prices. Those of the new Astra have indeed inflated by around €3,000 compared to the old version with an equivalent version. A straw ! And to make matters worse, our 1.2 Turbo GS Line version has already increased by €1,300 since its presentation last February… It now exceeds the psychological threshold of €30,000, under which the 308 1.2 PureTech Allure Pack still remains (29 €900). Not for very long, in our opinion, the rises also following one another at a sustained pace in Sochaux, with the surge in raw materials. For the moment, 850 € separate our two belligerents in favor of the French.
The balance does not tilt more significantly to one side or the other by adding the standard equipment. Because if the Opel is adorned with ergonomic heated seats labeled AGR (German association dedicated to back health), a steering wheel also heated and a 360 ° vision camera, optional at Peugeot, it unfortunately claims 700 € to benefit from the GPS (yes!) and €150 for the induction charger, automatically assigned to the 308. Which also has the blind spot monitoring system (€550 pack with semi-autonomous driving at Opel).
Unfortunately, the lioness obliges the customer to opt for the superior finish (GT) if he wishes to afford the glass sunroof or the 18-inch alloy wheels. We therefore give a slight advantage to the German to give access to this additional equipment (only €150 for the rims and €1,000 for the sunroof), as well as a head-up display (€1,250 with GPS included) . For the rest, it’s kif-kif, with lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, panel reading, LED headlights with dipped function/automatic headlights, 10-inch digital instrumentation, dual-zone air conditioning, hands-free key and Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connection for everyone. The bare minimum, today, at this level of the range…
Despite their common technical basis, these two compacts do not provide quite the same driving sensations. On the steering side in particular, very assisted and therefore less incisive on board the Astra. Its large steering wheel calls for greater gestures in the turns, while the 308’s mini-rudder, with its exquisite touch, allows the car to be positioned “to the millimeter” without having to steer excessively. This hint of additional maneuverability highlights the playful and agile character of the French car, less playful than the previous generation, as we have already pointed out on several occasions, but still devilishly effective when it comes to stringing laces. The french touch !
Even if she sometimes gives the impression of lacking virtuosity (she accuses, it is true, 83 kg more on the scale), the Astra also demonstrates a remarkable balance, with excellent traction on dry roads and a rear axle bolted to the ground. It also benefits from equally effective braking. But also a better guided gearbox than that of the lioness, a tad cartilaginous… Unfortunately, the two cars come together in mediocrity when it comes to rear visibility, which is more than limited. Suffice to say that the reversing camera, standard in both camps, is welcome here during parking maneuvers, given the importance of blind spots.
Yellow card again to the 308 regarding the readability of its instrumentation. The famous i-Cockpit, mid-height between classic instrumentation and a head-up display, forces the steering wheel to be lowered to the level of the thighs so that it does not hide all or part of the counters. On board the Opel Astra, the design is certainly less original, but the on-board information has the merit of remaining perfectly readable through the rim of the hoop, whatever the driving position adopted…
The Opel Corsa – based on the Peugeot 208 – left us with a bitter taste with its stiffened suspensions. We therefore expected the same discomfort when comparing the Astra to the 308, whose soft cushioning is one of the main assets. Pleasantly surprised, the German proves to be just as considerate, including with the large 18-inch wheels of our test model. Small bleeding or thick donkey, it digests! Perhaps even better than the franc-comtoise, a bit frozen on certain ruts.
Excellent soundproofing as well, which the Frenchwoman, rather brilliant on this subject, had prepared us for. Their “three legs”, with their characteristic hum, can only really be heard at high revs, where you sometimes have to linger to get better boosts, the last two gears of their transmission, quite long, further promoting consumption (about 7 l/100 km on average in both cases, relying on the on-board computer) than performance). That said, these are not ridiculous: some 4-cylinder competitors do not offer as much liveliness as the small supercharged 1.2 when the light turns green…
It’s amazing how the designers, although starting from a certain number of common elements, manage to create universes as different as these two cabins. Sobriety a must in Rüsselsheim, fireworks in Sochaux! A spectacular 308, with its cockpit enveloping the driver and its abundance of “trendy” materials, of very good quality. Digital is obviously very present on board, whether it’s the customizable instrumentation, the central central touch screen or the i-Toggles bar allowing you to create shortcuts to directly access your station. favorite radio station, the Apple CarPlay menu, a recurring GPS destination or your significant other’s phone number. However, it takes a little practice to understand the subtleties of the system, which requires three manipulations, for example, to deactivate the lane keeping aid (a little too intrusive for our taste), which reconnects without saying anything to every start…
Same punishment with the Astra, whose interfaces are perfectly identical, graphics excepted. The German engineers, however, had the good idea to keep physical air conditioning controls, independent of the central screen. Much more practical on a daily basis! The large “Pure Panel” slab encompassing the two screens, partly composed of trompe-l’oeil trim in lacquered black plastic, however, is a bit “knock”, as are the bright red inserts on the dashboard and the door panels, much less chic than the fabric strips of the Peugeot 308, underlined by a fine ambient light strip in a customizable colour. Too bad, because the rest of the furniture looks rather proud and the assemblies are just as neat as at Peugeot.
Another common point, less glorious: rear seats “engoncées” (high belt perched), quite unwelcoming in addition for cars of this size. If roominess is important to you, opt for a Volkswagen Golf or a Seat Leon instead! The Astra, however, offers a bit of extra space in the knees. Same observation on the trunk side, with 422 liters to the credit of the Opel (10 liters more than the 308), including the space available under the two-position floor shelf. A little storage trick that the French unfortunately remains deprived of. This makes up for it with larger pockets in the doors as well as an additional USB socket in the back (only one to the credit of the Astra). But in the end, the cousins are once again playing neck and neck…
Find the results of the match and the technical sheets compared on the next page…