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New Astra set for virgin USA launch

Date: 12 December 2006   |   Author: Guy Bird

Vauxhall's revised Astra is due on sale in Europe next February, and such is parent company GM's confidence in the Antwerp-manufactured vehicle, it will also be sold for the first time in the USA under the Saturn brand in late 2007.

Two new, more powerful, fuel-efficient and emission-friendly petrol engines head up the new Astra range: a naturally aspirated 115PS 1.6 and a turbocharged 180PS 1.6. Of the two, the retail and business best seller is expected to be the 115PS version. Its 43.5mpg and 156g/km CO2 will make it a diesel-challenging petrol car fitting into an 18% BIK tax bracket with ease (see table below for full engine details).

Officially unveiled at the Bologna motor show earlier last week, the revised car also gets a new exterior look and interior tweaks.

Outside, the five-door and estate front ends now sport a thicker chrome main grille bar with accents on the other bars, chromed lamp surrounds and a more 3D-accentuated and V-shaped front bumper. Sporty models get the black tinted lamp surrounds and the three-door gets a honeycomb grille.

At the back the opaque rear light covers have been ditched with a new clear light on the bottom of the cluster to join up visually with the rear hatch's chrome strip. Inside the centre console gets a visual boost with either glossy piano black lacquer or matt champagne gold style surface treatments.