Opel and Vauxhall tease their new plug-in hybrid Astra small hatch – though the demise of Holden means it’s highly unlikely to reach Australia any time soon.

British carmaker Vauxhall and its German sister brand Opel have teased the next-generation 2022 Astra small hatchback – a car which, had the events of the last five years played out differently, could have made it to Australian showrooms wearing Holden badging.

In 2017, American car giant General Motors sold its European-market Opel and Vauxhall brands to French conglomerate (and owners of Peugeot and Citroen) Groupe PSA – a firm now known as Stellantis, following its merger with the US’s FCA.

Prior to the brand’s demise in 2020, Holden marketed a rebadged version of the Vauxhall/Opel Astra in Australian showrooms – an agreement which, if Vauxhall and Opel continued under GM ownership, and Holden remained in operation, would likely roll over into the next-generation model.

Set to be unveiled by the end of 2021, the sixth-generation Astra ‘J’ – which will be offered in hatch and ‘Sports Tourer’ wagon guises – is all but confirmed to ride on parent PSA/Stellantis’ EMP2 platform, shared with the Peugeot 308 and not-for-Australia DS 4 hatch.

A set of teaser images preview the new hatch’s styling, featuring the same Vizor front-end design as the new Mokka small SUV, combining a pair of adaptive LED headlights into a full-width black panel across the car’s nose. ‘ASTRA’ insignia (no pun intended) will stretch across the tailgate.

Inside, the Mokka’s ‘Pure Panel’ dashboard design will make its Astra debut, combining a large, circa-10-inch infotainment touchscreen with a digital instrument cluster into one curved panel.

The new-for-Vauxhall platform will allow the introduction of an electrified variant for the first time, expected to be a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) based around a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and one or more electric motors – a setup shared with the related Peugeot 308.

Overseas reports point to two PHEV variants being offered: a front-wheel drive model developing 132kW or 165kW (with the exact output still to be confirmed), and a performance-focused, all-wheel-drive VXR variant producing 221kW and 520Nm.

Using the 5.9-second 0-100km/h time of the heavier, less aerodynamic Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 (which shares the 221kW hybrid powertrain) as a guide, the Astra VXR could be capable of covering the benchmark dash as little as 5.0 seconds flat – enough to challenge the Volkswagen Golf R, Audi S3 and other mid-tier, all-paw hot hatches.

The 2022 Vauxhall (or Opel) Astra will be unveiled “in the coming months”.

Unless Opel plans a return to Australian showrooms – following its brief, loss-making stint in Australia from late 2012, which lasted just 11 months – don’t expect to see the new Astra reach Australia.

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