Rarity almost always escalates value and this is as true for precious metals and stones, as it is for automobiles. So what price exclusivity? Not much at all, if you are talking about our test car for this week: The Opel Astra GTC 1.4 Turbo.
2013 Opel Astra GTC Review
During the entire period of testing we came across quite a few Porsches, Ferraris, Maseratis and the like but not another Astra GTC. Which is not surprising as Opel, despite being a volume seller in Europe, have not really kept up with the marketing and brand awareness that is needed to sell cars in this market . This is a shame because the Astra GTC is a little gem that cannot be overlooked for what it delivers and that too in a plus-sized package. It is a well-known fact that cars have been consistently getting bigger over the last few decades. Look at a 20 year old Honda Accord and you might well mistake it for a Civic. The Opel Astras of yester years were small econo-boxes and the GTC bears no resemblance to the family line. This is a good looking car with many handsome details and almost no carry over from the 5-door hatch back line.
For a car that is competing in the super-hatch category, the GTC is generously proportioned. Interior space verges on the roomy with a decent amount of leg space even for the back seats. Even the boot is surprisingly spacious, rivaling a VW Golf in carrying capacity. The interior styling is quite chic with beautifully understated ‘mood’ lighting accents. Our test car came with comfortable fabric seats and leather trim. The center console is home to an array of buttons and we found that operating the air-conditioning required much more than just twiddling a dial, but we got used to the drill eventually. Auto headlights, a multi-functional steering wheel, air bags, power windows, all come standard. Build quality is as you would expect from a German marque: functional and solid, but still not up to the standards of an Audi or BMW. Not that you expect it for the price!
However it’s the exterior styling that makes this car stand out. The GTC rolls up in a sharp suit that’s sure to catch attention, especially in the look-at-me green shade of our test car. The styling is fresh for these shores and visually very striking. The sharp crease extending from the tail light and curving around to the door handles make a unique style statement and gives a sporty line to the car. The big eye-catcher of course is the 20-inch wheels that the GTC wears like a medallion. Possibly excessive for a 1.4L turbo, it nonetheless vocalizes the GTC’s sporting intentions. You would expect 20-inch wheels to serve up a harsh ride, but surprisingly this is not the case and the GTC provides a supple ride while still managing to be comfortable.
Keep it pegged fast through a corner and you can feel the 20-inchers biting in and refusing to let go. You can thank Opel’s HiPerStrut front suspension, combined with the GTC’s low stance for the sporty handling and sharp response. It’s a very capable chassis that could handle a lot more than the 1.4 L Turbo’ s 140 horses that it’s required to harness. The engine is fairly capable of propelling the GTC along but stoplight grandprix’s require a firm shove on the accelerator. The engine seems happiest while cruising with the turbo spooling at low rpm, riding the 200Nm of torque on hand. The 6 speed automatic gearbox was a boon for the urban grind but we’re sure the GTC would be much livelier with a manual gear box.
Opel does have a 1.6L Turbo which would probably be a better bet for this market. Nonetheless, the 1.4 Turbo would surely pay dividends at the filling station with a better fuel mileage with Opel’s claimed efficiency of 6.8L /100 km.
The Opel Astra GTC retails for AED 90,000 which includes 3-year/100,000km warranty and a 3-year/60,000km service and maintenance package. At that price, the GTC definitely warrants attention from those seeking a petit but roomy and sporty package that flaunts a lot style. And to top it all the GTC comes with that elusive commodity – exclusivity !
|2013 OPEL ASTRA GTC|
|Rated Output||140 hp at 6000 rpm|
|Rated Torque||200 Nm at 1850 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||6 Speed Automatic|
|Fuel Consumption, combined, L/100km||6.8|
|Kerb Weight||1,412 kgs|
|Price (AED)||90,000 (As tested)|
** Price includes a 3 year/100,000kms warranty and a 3 year/60,000kms service & maintenance package
Images by Brian Donegan :