Just look at that: the bold, fresh face of the new Opel Astra. And no, before you even think it, it’s not coming here. This is strictly a European affair, but car design is a global affair, and this new hatchback carries some trends forward that we’re seeing on cars that are sold in our market, and those to come. Its crisp lines and glowering fascia invoke a sense of retro-futurism without being overtly retro, a trend that vehicles from Hyundai, for example, are vibing on. And as tropes and concepts cross-pollinate across oceans and brands, perhaps the new Astra shows the way forward.

Opel calls the striking fascia the “Opel Vizor,” a look that debuted on the Mokka and is a central part of the brand’s latest styling language. Like many cars today, the Astra also plays around with the separation between the roof and the greenhouse with blacked-out pillars—save the angular, forward-sweeping C-pillar. “Soccer ball” style alloy wheels provide some gravitas, and thin, comma-shaped taillights look suitably modern (if a bit generic). Despite a much longer wheelbase, its overall length is barely any more than that of the outgoing car, features that contribute to its athletic stance.

The interior, on the other hand, is hard-edged and aggressively stylish. It’s as if an ’80s concept car designer sketched the car of 2021—the distant future—and that prediction came true in a way that’s honest to both eras. That said, it doesn’t sport LCD displays like some mid-1980s Corvette, but rather very modern twin digital displays.

The powertrain is newsworthy, as it marks the first plug-in hybrid setup to find its way to the Astra model line. A variety of gas and diesel engines will be available, with a manual transmission on several of the less powerful options. The PHEV, however, is limited to an eight-speed automatic.

The new Astra will go on sale in Europe this fall.

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