2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
Before the new Golf causes a stir next year, the new stars from Fiat, Hyundai, Kia and Peugeot will arrive. Old stars like the Opel Astra or a Mazda3 have to pedal hard and can convince especially as a cheap basic diesel.
By Stefan Zaumseil
The fuel prices are unlikely to recover and commuters have been moaning for years about the huge increase in maintenance costs. Alternatives are therefore needed - and this is where the second place on the registration hit list comes in: The Opel Astra is being launched for the European non-Golf group, while the Asian competition among importers is represented by the Mazda3. Both golf classes have the same performance, similar dimensions and the same wheelbase, and attract customers with their economical consumption and low special prices. Both are still far from delivering just plain plain fare.
Commendable fuel economy
The 1,240 kilogram Opel Astra 1.7 CDTi with 82 kW / 110 PS enchants with its excellent chassis and good steering. Equipped with a six-speed manual transmission as standard, the 1.7 liter common rail turbo diesel delivers refreshing performance. From 2,300 tours, the maximum torque of 240 Newton meters is available and - at least in city traffic - the desire for higher motorization never arises.
With short gearshift travel, direct steering and a fairly tight chassis, the Rüsselsheim entry-level diesel can be moved with great agility - provided that the engine speed is always well above the pronounced turbo lag. 0 to 100 km / h in 11.7 seconds and a top speed of 185 km / h are within the expected range.
The fuel consumption is commendable. The 5.8 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers test consumption were only slightly above the manufacturer's specification (5.5 l / 100km), but are a good value in view of the driving performance. The background noise of the little diesel was pleasantly surprising. Never intrusive, rather discreetly, it does its work - even with the windows open, the whistling of the turbo is more likely to be heard than the nailing of the engine.
Mazda fast, but not so subtle
The Mazda3 shares the basis with the Ford Focus, the 1.6 liter common rail turbo diesel with 109 hp comes from the PSA shelf - not bad ingredients for Mazda's bestseller. The sporty, tightly tuned chassis and the powerful engine are almost as much fun as with the Astra, only the not quite as precise steering and the somewhat clumsy gearshift of the five-speed gearbox reduce the pleasure.
That the engine has enough reserves for a sixth gear can be clearly felt in the Rüsselsheim counterpart. The engine gets very noisy upstairs. Despite the higher weight of 1,350 kilograms, the Mazda3 also takes 11.7 seconds to sprint to the one hundred mark. The Rhenish Japanese drive subjectively faster, if not as subtle as the Opel Diesel. Even with the Mazda3, the top speed of 185 kilometers per hour is not a cause for criticism, but the petrol engine with the same performance is slightly faster. His test consumption was an economical 5.7 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers and thus even below the manufacturer's specification.
Good inner values
The inner values of the two competitors are also impressive: Electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors, height-adjustable driver's seat, height and length-adjustable steering wheel, front electric windows, steering wheel controls for the radio and central locking with remote control are standard on both. In terms of safety equipment, both test candidates are also on par: ABS, ISOFIX child seat attachments, three-point seat belts and all-round airbags.
The Opel Astra comes with an electronic stability program ESP as standard, while the Mazda3's dynamic stability control (DSC) incomprehensibly costs 540 euros extra. The interior of the Opel Astra looks fresher and more dynamic thanks to different plastic materials and the aluminum applications on the dashboard, whereas in the Mazda3 it is more of a uniform gray or black. On the other hand, the fabric seats of the Mazda3 feel better and the front seats offer significantly better lateral support than in the Opel.
Comfortable feeling of space
Both test subjects have enough space with a good sense of space for the driver and front passenger, while the back seat is, as expected, a bit more cramped. Although both the Opel Astra and the Mazda3 have three headrests and three seat belts on the rear bench, the middle seat is at best really comfortable for children, and the rear passengers in the Mazda can look forward to more knee room than in the Opel.
With a trunk volume of 380 liters, the Opel Astra not only has a little more to offer than the VW Golf, but at least a large backpack (40 liters) more than the Mazda3.
Opel a little more expensive
In both test cars, the rear seats can be split 60:40 and folded down. The Mazda3 Sport 1.6 CD Comfort is available with standard fog lights from 19,800 euros, the Opel Astra 1.7 CDTi costs at least 20,505 euros. The Opel Astra scores with standard cruise control, which costs 210 euros extra for the Mazda3. It goes without saying that both diesels are equipped with a diesel particulate filter. The surcharge list of both manufacturers for the Golf competitors does not offer any real differences, for example the air conditioning at Opel costs 1,140 euros, for Mazda 1,100 euros.
The chassis and interior speak for the Opel, while seating comfort, space behind and fuel consumption speak for the Mazda. If you only get a white or a blue car at Opel at no extra charge - if you want to pay for a red car and nothing, you have to go shopping at Mazda.