Opel/Vauxhall's Golf/Focus competitor, the Astra, is due for a refresh. While the current Astra is a capable and competent if slightly dull car, it dates all the way back to 2004, which is practically ancient in compact car terms. The next-generation Astra promises to be more of a good thing, and is expected to officially debut at the 2009 Frankfurt show this fall. For now, Opel is teasing us with a few not-too-revealing shots of the exterior to keep our interest in things. The new Astra will be based on the new Delta II architecture, which will underpin the Chevrolet Volt and it's continental twin, the Vauxhall Ampera - as well as the new Chevrolet Cruze, which is to replace the over-ripe Cobalt lineup. Power will come from GM's new 1.4L direct-injection turbocharged I4 in base models, with an optional 2.0L direct-injection Turbo 4 from the Cobalt SS doing duty in OPC/VXR models. The five-door hatchback model shown in these shots will be the first offered, along with a sportier looking 3-door hatchback, perhaps with the panoramic windshield like the previous Astra GTC had. Later on, a 5-door wagon and perhaps a 4-door sedan will join the lineup. There will also probably be a 2-door hardtop convertible for Europe, which seems to love the things for some reason. Of course, this whole thing is of questionable relevance to our readers in the United States, as it is looking more and more unlikely that the next Astra will never see the light of day in the States. Considering the brand it's sold under now is probably not going to be around much longer, and it's never exactly set the sales charts on fire during it's time in the states as well as it's generally negative profit margin... Well, don't be too surprised if it doesn't show up here. Which is the PERFECT opportunity for Ford to bring over the new Focus, preferrably in RS Trim.
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