Opel Astra: Car of the Year 2016
The annual European Car of the Year prize is awarded by a panel of journalists from around Europe, and is one of the most prestigious accolades that a vehicle can receive. The 2016 winner was the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, a C-segment hatchback with wide appeal. Re-designs to fit and finish, fuel efficiency, and value are just some the reasons they edged out the tough competition.
The jury has spoken
Every year, a jury of automobile journalists from around Europe cast their votes for the European car of the year. This group of more than 58 automobile experts includes representatives from a number of prestigious publications from Spain, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Sweden. The winner of 2016’s prize, perhaps not a surprise to many, was the hugely-popular Opel Astra (the Vauxhall Astra in the UK).
Gaining huge points in the categories of efficiency, value, reliability, and market appeal, this C-segment hatchback managed to beat the competition. This included edging out high-profile competitors like the Volvo XC90 and the Mazda MX-5 Miata in what was one of the tightest competitions for Car of the Year in recent memory.
The motives behind this award were many, as the 2016 Opel Astra has been a considerable improvement on previous models, featuring sweeping re-designs to fit and finish that greatly amplify the car’s attractiveness, making it a consistent choice by a wide variety of buyer demographics across Europe.
Roomier and lighter
Designed to compete with heavy hitters like the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf, the 2016 Opel Astra has had mass appeal in the European market. This is the first time that the Opel Astra has been awarded this formidable prize. However, its predecessor, the Opel Kadette, won the prize in 1985, and the Astra itself has placed second on two different occasions.
The 2016 version went through a significant re-design, becoming roomier and lighter than previous versions. Opel streamlined the car, making it physically smaller but actually more spacious inside. There were also a number of changes to the dashboard, including a touchscreen. This cleaned up the clutter and with the additional legroom creates a more comfortable driving experience.
The Astra also underwent improvements to fuel efficiency and features a more aerodynamic design. In fact, the diesel version is capable of running up to 600 miles from a single tank of fuel.
The Opel Astra is a perfect family car that does not sacrifice fuel efficiency for space, and has an excellent ratio of quality to price in addition to a generous boot for storing your stuff. It’s even equipped with a variety of high-technology bells and whistles, such as autonomous emergency breaking, traffic sign recognition, and lane keep assist. A unique inclusion in the European market is the OnStar telematics assistance button, which can be used to call or activate emergency assistance.
Additionally, the Opel Astra received five out of five stars in the critical NCAP European standard safety tests, one of the most important accolades a vehicle can receive. Indeed, there was more than sufficient reason for the Astra to merit the Car of the Year prize, as this car receives high marks all around as a greatly refined and driveable vehicle.
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