2011 Opel Astra Sports Tourer – Click above for high-res image gallery

Small wagons might not have much of a place in the United States, but overseas, they do very well, thank you. Take the Opel Astra, for example – its wagon variant accounts for around 25 percent of its overall sales. Thus, Opel hasn't wasted any time in creating the wagon (Sports Tourer) version of the new Astra, and while it will make its public debut this October at the Paris Motor Show, General Motors is already spilling the virtual beans.

Inside, the Astra Sports Tourer uses a new FlexFold rear seat system, which allows rear seats to be folded down simply by pressing a button in the tailgate. We commonly see this feature on larger SUVs and minivans, and the Astra is the first compact wagon to have this function. With the rear seats down, the Sports Tourer can accommodate up to 54.7 cubic feet of haulables.

Not only is the Astra Sports Tourer quite functional, it has the makings of a vehicle that's relatively good to drive, too. Opel has fitted its FlexRide adaptive suspension system to the wagon, with standard, tour and sport driving modes. Eight engine choices are available, ranging from 95 to 180 horsepower, including the turbocharged 1.4-liter four that's slated for use in the U.S.-market Chevrolet Cruze.

It looks to be a fun little wagon, this Astra, and it makes us wish that there were enough buyers for such vehicles over here in the States. Have a look for yourself by either scrolling through the gallery below or watching the video (complete with Shaft-inspired soundtrack) after the jump.


Related Gallery2011 Opel Astra Sports Tourer

[Source: Opel]





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The New Opel Astra Sports Tourer: The Athletic All-rounder

- Sporty, elegant looks backed by agile handling
- First class practicality wrapped in a compact wagon format
- Extended powertrain line-up enhanced by Start/Stop technology

Rűsselsheim. Opel introduces the Astra Sports Tourer – a sleek wagon featuring first class practicality in an athletic and stylish shape. This compact wagon is set to build on the outstanding sales success of its five-door hatchback sibling, for which more than 160,000 orders have been placed in only six months.

Sharing the same Opel design DNA and Sports Tourer name as its larger counterpart the Insignia, the Astra Sports Tourer has a dynamic yet practical appeal: Its good looks are combined with an ample flexible cargo carrying capability. Efficient trunk design and premium features that enhance the functionality effortlessly raise load space up to 1,550 liters.

The Astra Sports Tourer is presented with a high quality finish and incorporates exciting Opel innovations that make life more comfortable and driving safer. These include the adaptive mechatronic FlexRide chassis, the AFL+ adaptive forward lighting, the ergonomic front seating systems and the Opel Eye front view camera system that recognizes traffic signs and warns drivers when they inadvertently depart from their lane. In addition, Opel engineers are developing a next-generation FlexFix integrated rear bike carrier, which will be introduced for the Sports Tourer next year.

Wagons traditionally account for about 25 percent of all Astra sales in Europe, a much higher proportion than the compact segment average of 17 percent. The new Astra Sports Tourer now draws on more than 50 years of Opel's unique competence in designing and building station wagons. Opel was the first automaker in Europe to introduce this body style in Europe with the Rekord CarAvan in 1953. It continued to evolve the format by adding style and dynamic appeal to pure functionality as first seen in the 1971 Ascona Voyage.

The Astra Sports Tourer makes its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show (October 2-24), and goes on sale in November.

Efficient load carrier incorporates premium features

The new Astra Sports Tourer has been designed for smooth loading, while the clean, flat wall linings of the carefully contoured cargo compartment optimize useable space by eliminating odd, hard-to-use corners. Load volume can be easily adjusted between 500 and 1550 liters.

Efficient trunk design is a key aspect of the wagon concept and Opel engineers have taken great care to enhance functionality by incorporating features from premium station wagons with a rare sense of quality and precision.

They have developed a new FlexFold Rear Seat system, which allows each section of the 60/40 split-fold rear seatbacks to be lowered at the press of a button located in the side walls of the cargo compartment: A spring is electrically released, automatically activating quick, remote folding of the seatbacks. The Astra Sports Tourer is the first compact wagon equipped with this convenience feature.

With the seatbacks down, the cargo load length is increased to 1835 mm, 28 mm more than in the current Astra wagon.

Sporty design executed with first class quality

Families and business professionals using the Astra Sports Tourer benefit from the same harmoniously sculpted cabin as in the five-door hatchback. The wraparound wing front fascia and the flowing forms of the cockpit provide a great sense of space and security.

The cabin is as practical as it is comfortable. Sports Tourer users wish to stow a range of items where they need them, not just in the trunk. To help achieve that, 25 liters of cabin storage space has been added, 50 percent more than in the previous generation wagon. For long distance driving comfort, customers can choose the only front ergonomic seats in the segment certified by independent back experts from the Aktion Gesunder Rűcken (AGR).

The exterior design of the new Astra Sports Tourer brings a touch of athleticism and undeniable class to compact wagon looks. The tapered profile and the prominent side blade-shaped sculpted into the flanks of the body combine to give the Sports Tourer a powerful sense of forward movement. A muscular shoulder line leads gracefully into eye-catching, sculpted rear light units.

Astra Sports Tourer offers the same agile handing as the hatchback

Athleticism is also found in the Astra Sport Tourer's mechatronic chassis. Opel Vehicle Dynamics engineers have ensured that it offers the same level of comfort and agility as that of the five-door hatchback. The Sports Tourer shares its footprint with its five-door sibling, with a similar 2685 mm-long wheelbase and wide front and rear tracks of 1544 and 1558 mm respectively.

The rear axle also benefits from the highly innovative combination of a compound crank and a Watt's link as used on the five-door variant – an ingenious construction unique to Opel. The settings and damping calibrations are adapted for higher load capabilities, while the Watt's link supports lateral forces during cornering to give the Astra Sports Tourer dynamic and agile handling without compromising stability or comfort.

Chassis behavior can be further enhanced by the sophisticated FlexRide adaptive suspension system, a true rarity in the compact segment. The system continuously adapts to changes in road conditions and driving style. In the Standard mode, the FlexRide offers the whole bandwidth of settings available. In the Sport and Tour modes that can be selected by the driver, the FlexRide system applies respectively the sportiest or the most comfortable settings. The Sport mode additionally tenses the throttle and steering responsiveness.

As the Astra Sports Tourer is likely to pull trailers, Opel's electronic Trailer Stability Assist system is also available.

Extended powertrain line-up to soon include Start/Stop technology

The Astra Sports Tourer powertrain line-up includes eight vigorous yet frugal gasoline and diesel engines, ranging in power from 70 kW/95 hp to 132 kW/180 hp.

A new addition is the 1.4-liter turbo gasoline unit, giving 88 kW/120 hp. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission. The 103 kW/140 hp version of the 1.4 Turbo engine is now also available with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2.0 CDTI engine with 118 kW/ 160 hp tops the diesel line-up and is offered with a six-speed manual gearbox. It combines high performance and torque of up to 380 Nm (with overboost) with 5.1 liter fuel consumption and 134 g/km CO2 emissions. An automatic six-speed transmission is also available.

To optimize fuel economy all variants equipped with a manual transmission now include a shift-up indicator.

Start/Stop technology will be introduced soon in the Astra Sports Tourer and across the Astra line-up. The first application is the new ecoFLEX variant with the 1.3 CDTI engine delivering 70 kW/95 hp.

The new Astra Sports Tourer has been entirely designed and developed at Opel's International Technical Design Center in Rüsselsheim, and will be built at the company's production plant in Ellesmere Port, United Kingdom.