Opel Kadett (1985)


Opel Kadett (1985)

Years Produced:
Launch Price:

1297cc in-line four
Front engined FWD

The aerodynamic abilities of a car was by now commonplace as part of the cars marketing, often enhancing both fuel economy and performance. The Opel Kadett was this time simultaneously released at the same time as its UK Vauxhall badged Astra, as well as the usual General Motors local market versions for other parts of the world. By now GM had consolidated all Opel and Vauxhall cars, which were now identical across Europe. The platform, like that of the Ascona, was used across a variety of cars and had a long life.

It featured all the same body options as the previous model, but had now included a 3 box saloon model. In the age of the Hot hatch and turbo charging, the Astra would be creating more sales than before on account of their GTE sports models. A soft top model built with a considerable amount of strengthening was conceived from the start, were converted by Bertone in Italy. The cars styling influenced the new family of GM cars for Europe, but due to the initial sluggish sales, the following Carltons/Rekord and Senetors were far less dramatic.

Runners up


Renault 25 
Renault designed the all new 25 model to replace the 30, the new car was a revolution compared to the worthy but anonymous 30. Renault claimed that the aerodynamic efficiency of the 25 was the best of any car at the time. With the performance, economy, handling and handsome styling, the car sold well across Europe. The prominent curved glass hatchback gave the car a saloon look, which was the preferred body shape for cars in this sector. A wide variety of fuel injected, diesel and turbo engines kept sales strong, and was still well regarded after the last model was replaced by the less graceful Safrane in 1992.


Lancia Thema
The first of 4 cars that shared the same platform, with Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Saab, the Thema needed to replace the Gamma as Lancia’s prestigious car. Some engineering experience was shared amongst the manufacturers, but all 4 cars were very different and received different levels of success and longevity. Available as a FWD saloon and estate, the car was stylish and promised much more than its predecessor. No coupe models were produced, but several engine options were available including the Peugeot/Renault/Volvo V6, diesels, a turbo and the low production V8 8.32 which shared its engine with the Ferrari 308.