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Illustration of the Next Astra? (Visit this link)

From Vauxhall is set to launch a fierce new attack on its bitter rival Ford with this: the next Astra. Boasting a fresh look and a wide range of engines, the striking hatchback will combine style and driver appeal like never before. The nose is clearly inspired by the Insignia, and wears bold headlights and deep air intakes, while at the rear there is a squat Seat Leon-style tail, as well as distinctive C-pillars. As well as the five-door shown here, there will be a three-door Sport Hatch model. And as is the case with the current generation, this car will be completely different from its more practical brother, with a rakish tailgate and lower roofline creating a coupé-like profile. Inside, the Astra will take the fight to the Golf and Ford Focus head-on, with a quality cabin that takes a leaf out of the Insignia's book. Soft-touch plastics are fitted throughout, while standard equipment will include Blue- tooth phone connectivity, plus integrated sat-nav and audio technology. Parent firm General Motors has conceived the newcomer as a world car, and it will share its platform with Saab's forthcoming 9-1. Astra mechanicals will also underpin several Chevrolets, including the new Volt, plus the next Aveo and Lacetti. The model will reach the US, too, wearing a Saturn badge. Diesel isn't so popular there, but the car's close relationship with the Volt means a hybrid petrol drivetrain will be available for the first time. A FlexFuel bio­ethanol model will be offered as well.

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