It seems every manufacturer has jumped on the ‘hot-hatch’ wagon and GM was one of the first to offer this blend of performance, style and practicality in the early 2000s with the introduction of the Astra Turbo. In mid 2006, a new edition of the Turbo based on the popular AH Coupe came to the fore to battle with nearly another dozen of hot hatch warriors.
I purchased my example nearly a year ago and could not be happier. I was looking for a hatch that had speed and styling, without being too brash, yet was fun and cheap enough to use as a daily driver. I settled on a silver model which was optioned with 19 inch ‘Snowflake’ wheels found on European Opel OPC versions (rebadged as a HSV VXR in Australia).
My experience has been fantastic. The nice exhaust note and limited turbo lag from the 2L turbo engine makes it a thrill to drive, especially mated to a 6 speed short-throw manual which also keeps the fuel consumption to a respectable 10L/100km. Features include: leather interior (seats heated), climate control, damper and throttle control ‘SPORT’ button and trip computer. All these features wrapped in a stylish coupe make it a joy to own.
A few negatives are the rough ride on the 19 inch wheels, especially over worn down Brisbane roads. The dash could also be more exciting, rather than carrying a silver metallic look throughout. That stylish sloping roof line also results in terrible rear vision, sensors are a must.
Overall, after all these years the car feels very solid and is a pleasure to own with little problems. The mix of luxury and turbo grunt makes it an ideal car for anyone in the market for a well priced hot hatch.