The new Opel Astra celebrates its world premiere at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt this fall (September 17 – 27, 2015), but it is already clear today: never before has there been so much luxury in the compact class. The Astra is lighter, more efficient and offers state-of-the-art features; thanks to its advanced seating technology, it makes every drive a relaxing journey. AGR (Campaign for Healthier Backs) certified premium Opel ergonomic seats provide excellent long-distance travel seating comfort. They continue the Opel tradition of award-winning, back-friendly seats. Beyond being 18-way adjustable including side bolster adjustment, they are now optionally available with further comfort features such as massage and memory function along with ventilation – a unique combination in the compact class. Rear seat passengers can also look forward to more luxury – in addition to more legroom, heated outer rear seats are optional. Astra customers can treat themselves to these luxury seats that are completely developed in-house at Opel for very attractive prices – the driver’s seat with the AGR seal of approval is already available from 390 euros.
“Seating is among the most important elements in a vehicle as it delivers safety, comfort, and design. It is one of the reasons we place such a high priority- with the support of our partners- on the development of our seating systems," says Charlie Klein, Vice President Vehicle Engineering at Opel. "The new Opel Astra seats continue to deliver on the promise of excellence and are a reflection of the skill and commitment of our engineers and designers. The Astra seats provide advanced features in the compact segment that are normally found only in the premium class."
Lightweight: Seat alone ten kilos lighter
Development of the seating environment in the new Astra already began nearly five years ago for the over 100 employees in the team of experts. “Especially integration of the relatively bulky seats must be considered from the very beginning. This means the seats have to fit into the car accurately to the last millimeter – in every direction,” says Andrew Leuchtmann, Senior Manager GME Interiors. A very challenging task, as the seat components are one of the car’s largest parts. Seat production alone accounts for around ten percent of the total production costs of a new car model.
At the same time, the seats have a large impact on total weight. That is why for their new development, the engineers first had to minutely examine all single elements of the Astra comfort seats that come as standard. “Compared to the predecessor, not one single part is identical,” says the expert. In order to offer rear seat passengers 35 millimeters more legroom, the seat back of the new comfort front seat was made much more compact. State-of-the-art calculation methods enable this, as do lighter polyurethane foams and ultra-high-strength steels that are built in under the seat upholstery. “So the new seats are around ten kilos lighter than those in the previous model,” explains Leuchtmann. This is not only true for the driver and co-driver seats – the new Astra’s rear seats are also lighter and more compact, their contouring was optimized and thigh support was enhanced with a steeper seat tilt.
AGR seal of approval for ergonomic seats
“In-vehicle ergonomics is more than just the seat contouring, it already begins with the positioning of the seat in the car,” says Leuchtmann. The Opel experts also further optimized the Astra comfort seat in this regard, positioning it lower. “This especially accommodates taller drivers with a sporty driving style,” he explains. Thanks to a 65-millimeter height adjustment span – the largest in the segment – shorter drivers are also guaranteed an optimum seating position. With the optional premium ergonomic seat’s memory function, this can even be saved at the press of a button. This is ideal for fleet vehicles with the same group of drivers or couples who share the new Opel Astra. The base version of the optional ergonomic seats comes with four-way electropneumatically adjustable lumbar support (forwards, backwards, up and down), variable seat cushion tilt, cushion length adjustment and a seat form with contours that adapt to the natural curvature of the spine. The premium ergonomic seats also feature electropneumatically adjustable side bolsters that support the body by making the seatback narrower or wider. All these exemplary ergonomic elements made it clear to the AGR (Campaign for Healthier Backs), an independent association of doctors and experts dedicated to preventing back problems, that the new Astra also deserves the AGR seal of approval.
Wellness massage, climate control and heating included
Seats should not only keep drivers securely in place, they should also keep them warm or cool depending on the prevailing conditions. The new Astra comfort seat features passive climate control, meaning breathable surface fabrics and perforated polyurethane foams that considerably improve transporting away moisture and thereby the micro climate in the seat. The new Astra’s premium ergonomic seats can do both – keep warm and cool. Small fans suck air, and thus the moisture that develops when someone is in the seat, away from the body. In the winter, integrated seat heating keeps the driver and co-driver as well as both outer rear seat passengers comfortably warm. Those who want to turn their car into a wellness mobile on longer journeys can enjoy a massage at the push of a button – and arrive at their destination even hours later relaxed and free of aches or pains.
Opel is the leading volume manufacturer of ergonomic seats with the AGR seal of approval. The first ergonomic Opel seat was introduced with the Signum in 2003. Today, in addition to the new Astra, the certified and popular seats can be ordered for many Opel models including the Insignia, Meriva, Zafira Tourer, Mokka and Cascada. “We want to really speed up the democratization of good seats – more Opel models with AGR seats will follow,” promises Andrew Leuchtmann.