By on June 11, 2012

Yes, that’s right Europhiles, you can buy an Opel Astra in North America…it’s called a Buick Verano, and it will join the more familiar Astra hatchbacks with four gasoline and three diesel powerplants at launch, as well as a 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder at some point in the future.

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39 Comments on “Opel Astra On Sale RIGHT NOW In North America...”


  • avatar
    Sundowner

    “yeah, but what I REALLY wanted was the all-wheel-drive wagon version with a diesel, stickshift, and the many-thousands-of-dollars optional Recaro seats”

    “What do you mean it’ll cost $40,000! I’m not paying that much for a small car! F-it, I’ll just go buy a Tahoe…”

  • avatar
    philadlj

    ONLY seven powerplants, with one more on the way? Geez, talk about stingy. ;)

    I’m sure it’s not the reason Opel’s in such dire financial straits, but offering so many different engines in one model can’t possibly help matters.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      It is pretty common practice for manufacturers to have cars with 6+ engines available. Most cars are built to customer order, with minimal on lot inventory. This allows the greater variety (along with typically a higher European price).
      Just look at the Golf or Focus in say the UK – they have 8 Golf engines (not including GTi) and 9 Focus engine choices.

      The back end looks better than the Verano – maybe it will come in 3 years time for the mid-cycle enhancement.

    • 0 avatar
      someclevername

      That is very much the European way and it doesn’t seem to do VW or BMW any harm – for example check out how many varieties of Golf engine there are/have been. And for the 3-series, even discounting duplicates and small localisations, I count at least seventeen engine configurations for the last generation. If you count all variations of petrol and diesel ever produced for the E90, even CA specials, then there are thirty two options listed on wikipedia – seven starts to sound relatively restrained!

      If you’re making a world car then a wide variation of engine makes a lot of sense – some locales require more power, some less. Once you get over that hurdle it’s just a case of how many options to support in each territory. I think it’s a sign of a softening US market that these lower end models are being offered though, since Euro imports usually stick to one or two configurations, and principally at the high end. In England for example, if you were rolling in the Golf 2.5 you had to be doing pretty well, whereas that’s the base model here in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        If you where rolling in a Golf 2.5 you would be the odd one out, as that model is not available at all in Europe.
        Pedantry mode of.
        I’m with you, with modern manufacturing and with the same drive train used in many models the cost of additional engine options won’t be to bad.

    • 0 avatar
      outback_ute

      Some of the engine options will likely be just different tune variants of the same actual engine (different power levels).

  • avatar
    Lynchenstein

    At least from the angle in the article, it’s a pretty nice looking car.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Checked one out while I was at a car show over Memorial Day weekend (Buick had some of their vehicles there). Very nice looking on the outside, VERY nice interior for the segment, and given they are south of $30K even equipped to the teeth well priced (starts at $23K). Didn’t get to drive one. Rear seat room would be acceptable but I wouldn’t want to sit back their all day. For a commuter car that would be easy to park but borderline luxury in amenities it’s a good deal.

      I would consider a used one for my kid in a few more years. I keep hearing GM is bringing a 220 to 250 HP turbo version with optional manual. Could make for a very interesting car.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    We checked one out at our recent auto show and were very impressed. When the time comes, will I be a Chevy man, a Buick man or something else?

    Oh, the possibilities…

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    My neigbor traded in a Northstar V8 Cadillac SRX for a “white diamond tricoat” Verano. He loves it and it looks great!

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      I wish I could stick with my Focus, but unfortunately I’m in the opposite boat. Instead of buying a V8 large wagon/small SUV I don’t need, I own an excellent (’12 Focus) C segment car, but decided to wait until I was 6 months into my loan, like an idiot, to realize that being 6’5 the Focus wasn’t the best of ideas, so I am looking to up-size.

      Not to a V8 powered car I don’t need, but probably a V6 powered full-sized sedan or possibly mid-sized crossover.

  • avatar
    tikki50

    gotta say this rear end is much nicer to look at over the current verano, They styled that after the more dated Lacrosse, Buick then releases the Regal and the verano pop out looking like the child of the Lacrosse. The only reason I can think of for keeping the ugly rear end it has today is that if the rear end looked like this people would be overly confused as to what vehicle it actually is. So is GM too sensitive this? Probably. I point to BMW. Most of their car designs seem to be inbread. Which for a car line is not a totally bad thing. I think Buick should have choosen this route instead of the one they did.

  • avatar
    Johnnyangel

    Can’t help but wish this and other websites would still employ copy editors (maybe even us geezers who learned to diagram sentences in school) …

    “it’s called a Buick Verano, and it will join the more familiar Astra hatchbacks with four gasoline and three diesel powerplants at launch, as well as a 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder at some point in the future.”

    This sentence as written means that Buick will offer all seven engines, which I seriously doubt.

    And no, I’m not busting Derek’s chops for his having sold his Miata — that is its *own* punishment!

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “And no, I’m not busting Derek’s chops for his having sold his Miata — that is its *own* punishment!”

      That’s OK. He’s buying our granite gray 2007 MX5 Sport 5 speed in three years!

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    It’s true that European cars are partially so expensive in their own market because they are built to order; few are on lots with popular equipment like here.

    From what I’ve seen there, the real estate and location are a factor, too. Most big dealers are in high-density urban areas. They don’t have endless lots for inventory like our auto mall strips. And maybe, just maybe, the dealers don’t go through the same forced inventory financing nightmares with the manufacturers that ours do. Anyone know?

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    What, if any, are the differences between this and Cruze?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The Verano/Astra Sedan are based upon the Opel Astra hatchback. The Cruze as some on here keep bleating is based upon a Daewoo. So they are different to some extent deepdown. Engines are different, obviously the interior and exterior are noticeably different.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        The Cruze isn’t “based” on a Daewoo. The Cruze IS a Daewoo – a Lacetti to be precise – that happens to be assembled in the U.S. by the UAW with a few bowtie badges slapped on.

        Derisively dismissing such comments as “bleating” doesn’t make them any less true.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I was derisive because a) the “Detroit can do nothing right” crowd make it sound like the Cruze being/derived from a Daewoo is one of the greatest sins against nature and b) the usual suspects in the “DCDNR” crowd are usually dismissively or worse of people who disagree with them. So if I can’t beat you then why not join you!

        This is off track since the article is about the Astra. But shouldn’t the Cruze (or any car) be judged on how it sells, the level of incentives used (and ATP), the reliability, value and driving experience? The usual suspects have insisted on that in the past and I agree with the criteria as they are perfectly reasonable. Is it now that the Cruze is competitive judged on those same criteria that the “its a Daewoo” argument comes out. Who cares if the end product is competitive.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        I really don’t disagree with anything you said, but pedigree does matter when the vehicle in question was designed by a company with such a horrible record as Daewoo. It’s sad – but not surprising – how GM must rely on such a wretched entity for its cars.

        It’s also sad how the Cruze – despite its spotty reliability record and everpresent quality problems, even though the car is four years old now – is STILL markedly better than GM managed with its homesourced products like the Cobalt and Cavalier.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Volts – I agree with a lot of what you have said. Just looked at the truedelta data and for 2011 and 2012 the Cruze is level pegging with the Honda Civic (just choose the Civic as a surrogate for a generally accepted reliable car). So its reliability record (albeit based on only 2 years) is not bad. Lets see what it is like after say 5 years onwards.

        I have to disagree about the pedigree comment. It is a lagging indicator – Daewoo may be “crap” but if the Cruze turns out to be a “good” car as it is at the moment then that surely means Daewoo is improving. Just like Hyundai has.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        At the time Daewoo went under, it was trying to turn the sinking ship around. Didn’t they just finish a state-of-the-art factory that they had sank more than a billion dollars into? That is why GM bought Daewoo.
        Even the first generation Optra, which I happily took as a demo at the time, was pretty impressive (except the fuel mileage, but the the automatic was not American, so that was expected.)
        So little credit was given to GM for the coup of picking up Daewoo. They got a spanking new factory, a whole generation of new vehicles just off the drawing board AND access to one of the largest car markets in the world.
        Or did you forget that, like Japan, Korea is at the very bottom of the OECD’s list of countries that allow imported vehicles and vehicle parts? Sorry, what am I thinking? Japan and Korea don’t inhibit foreign auto makers. It’s just a coincidence that nobody sells vehicles there.

  • avatar
    threeer

    The Verano is one car that I’d like to see my mother try on for size. I’ve not yet driven one, but the ones I’ve seen look to be the right size for her, and I like what I’ve read so far regarding handling/comfort balance and road manners. Will say I’m slighly biased, as my father only owned Opels when we lived in Germany…which is why I came darned close to getting a used Astra a few years back. I know, I know…liking GM imports is a sickness without a real cure!

  • avatar
    modelt1918

    Actually, I miss the days here in America when you would have to go to the dealership and order your car off of an order sheet. You had several colors, engines and endless options to choose from. You could get a upscale model with a smaller engine or a cheap entry level with a sunroof! I could go order a car like I want, not the way some bean counter wants forces me to have now.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      I’we always wondered if the many beige/gold cars is a result of the way cars are sold in the US. Beige offends no one and makes for a suitable lot car even though no one seems to find it attractive.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    Saturn worked that way. It was the same price whether you purchased from the lot or ordered from the factory. I ordered 3 that way over a 10 year span.

    I am not aware of a reasonably priced car company that offers this option in the States.

  • avatar
    Jason Lombard

    This post actually accomplished the impossible; it caused me to visit the Buick website to get more information on the Verano. Unfortunately, when I arrived, I found that I can’t actually price one out because of a site error “Your session has expired. Please click ‘Start Over’ to reset this vehicle.” That message happens at page load in the “build your own” section when attempting to select a trim level. They probably don’t need one more thing to overcome when trying to sell their vehicles.

  • avatar

    An Astra. Oh joy. A second-rate car from a second-rate manufacturer (Opel) now made in their second-rate factories.

    …but it *does* look nice.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Second rate? Really, I thought the Opel Astra was the third best selling compact in the European Union (after the Golf and Focus). If they are second rate then what does that say about Peugeot, Citroen, Honda, Toyota, Fiat, Skoda, SEAT and Mazda?

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll give a detailed answer: Honda is better than Opel, Skoda and Seat are Volkswagen, Toyota is better than Opel, Fiat is… well they DO have the Panda, Mazda is better than Opel if you manage to avoid the rust models they built some time ago, Citroen is worse than Opel, but more interesting, and Peugeot is the third circle of car hell.

        The reason why the Astra sells well is: Opel is dumping these cars. They are therefore good value for money (look at street prices, not list prices), especially if you know about build quality and compare them to PSA’s offerings that start to rust right out of the factory. But Opel has made a profit only once in the last dozen years (2006). Burning GM money is not a viable long-term business model. And now, the Koreans top Opel in value for money. There is no longer a reason for Opel to exist in its current form. We (Europeans) don’t need it, and you can see this clearly in their problems (read Bertel’s industrie comments).

        I have driven a lot of miles in Astras in the last two years. I recommend against this car. If you are looking at an Astra, buy Korean (i40 is nice if you just want a car, not character). We could compromise on “second-rate German car”. Because every other German car maker does everything better.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Thanks for the detailed answer – I have never owned an Opel, although my step-mother has had several generations of Vauxhall Astra’s. They are cheap but so are Fords, Citroen’s, Peugeot’s and Skoda’s. I know Skoda and SEAT are VW’s, however when I owned a SEAT Ibiza 10 years ago it was clearly cheaper inside than the equivalent VW (Polo).

        It all depends on how you define best – car sales, reviews (like Whatcar.co.uk), or ……

        I also agree that Opel hasn`t made a profit in many a year but the same can be said for PSA and for Ford.

        As for interior quality, well I think all manufacturers have improved greatly following the introduction of the Mk IV Golf back in the late 90’s.

      • 0 avatar

        Okay, definitions may vary. But you will be very hard pressed to find a German who will say an Astra is the best Germany can do. If you do find one, kindly submit his adress so we can have him shot for treason. Yes, Skoda and Seat are cheaper inside, but not by much, and you have a solid car around this inside.

        You are right about PSA: I hope Peugeot will vanish along with Opel. There is a niche for Citroen, for interesting luxurious and/or funky European cars in the long term. It could work.

        Ford is different from Opel in an important way: Ford has a new horizon of truly great cars. We want this 2013 Mondeo (“Fusion” you call it afaik). We want these Turbo-Triples that churn out power and torque for a small amount of fuel. We want Ford SYNC with Nuance’s voice recognition for roundabout 500 $. We don’t want an Opel “Adam”. It’s too little too late. After everyone has bought a VW Up already, Opel are still in the process of choosing a crappy name for their uninteresting (non-)alternative. It’s hopeless.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      When you’re right, you’re right. Girlfriend rented an Opel and the interior quality was, well, american. I had flashbacks from the Chevrolet Alero “sports sedan” I was forced to ride in sometimes around the turn of the century, traumatic stuff. The poor corsa was slightly better put together then the Calibra my friend drove in highschool and the Kadett my late grandmother drove in the early nighties, so they are moving in the right direction, by the time all cars are powered by fuel cells Opel will be on par with a 95 Audi A4.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      Well the Pug has improved significantly in the rust department and are now pretty much acceptable. On the other hand the reliability is pretty sub standard considering that most of the cars are pretty low tech compared to most of zee Germans.

  • avatar
    wmba

    The Verano is just a Cruz in disguise. So, apparently is the new Astra, if it’s the same as the Verano.

    This post is highly confusing, as a commenter mentions above. Are we talking about the European debut of the Astra, or the Verano that’s already available here in North America?

    I quote from C/D:

    “And while it shares GM’s “global compact vehicle” (formerly known as Delta II) architecture with the Chevy Cruze and Volt, other than basic size, there’s no hint of family resemblance. Most of the exterior sheetmetal and chassis tuning came the long way through the GM hierarchy—from the Opel Astra.” Well, the C/D editors may not notice a resemblance, but they may well be blind. It’s pretty obvious to the average car nut.

    Now that’s wheels within wheels. It’s like trying to figure out which cow your McDonald’s hamburger came from. Once 45 carcasses are shoved in the masher, you might get a bit of everything.


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