- Great design
- Plenty of tech for safety and entertainment
- Manual and Auto on all models
- Not all safety tech is standard even on RS-V
The Holden Astra name is one many families remember fondly and grew popular until it was replaced by the locally built Cruze. However, with the new corporate strategy from Holden, the Astra name was recruited to fill the mid-sized car void. The current Holden Astra wasn’t the first Astra we saw since the name returned, we saw the name in the previous generation which was badged an Opel when Opel was a thing in Australia, and then again presumably to test the market with them badged as a Holden.
The problem with the previous generation was the fact that despite its great looking design, and standard feature inclusions, it was old. The MyLink system wasn’t touch-based, there were simply too many buttons on the dash, and compared to other vehicles available, its design wasn’t as sharp compared to a few years ago.
Enter the new Holden Astra. Sporting a new look, a swag of tech, and the 2016 European Car of the Year award, the new Astra shows what a good quality Volkswagen Golf competitor can be. Our Astra RS-V review vehicle is the top model available, featuring a 1.6L ECOTECH Direct Injection turbo producing 147kW of power and 300Nm of torque attached to an automatic or manual transmission. The entry Astra R features a 1.4L ECOTECH Direct Injection Turbo engine producing 110kW/240Nm, while the middle Astra RS shares the same heart as the Astra RS-V.
Unlike the Cruze or previous generation Astra, there is a sense of refinement that I can’t recall experiencing in a Holden. Interior buttons and surfaces feel premium, and the 8-inch colour touchscreen (7-inches in the R and RS) is house beautifully. Furthermore, the driving position for the driver allows plenty of adjustment and greater vertical seat adjustment for those taller drivers.
On the road, the power delivery is consistent across the rev range, and the boost from the turbo is subtle keeping the ride smooth for passengers. If you’re wanting to plant your foot, the 147kW from the 1.6L turbo delivers what feels like just the right about for a car of its stature. Compared to previous generations, there’s no strict performance model like the VX-R, and even though the names of R, R+, RS and RS-V might suggest a sporty undertone, this Astra screams European sophistication for buyers.
However, it’s sophistication isn’t just on the surface. The tech to keep you safe is subtle and doesn’t big note its presence. Advanced Park Assist, Side Blind Spot Alert, and Automatic Emergency Braking is there for when your mind might wander, just like Forward Collision Alert, and Lane Keep Assist. A few other packages also allow you to add features like Radar Cruise Control, but we’d much prefer to see it standard.
Comfort wise, in the RS-V you’ll find leather-appointed, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control and passive entry push-button start. The inclusion of Digital Radio is a nice inclusion to compliment the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, and it’s a feature we still don’t see enough of in cars today.
Priced from $21,990 drive away for the entry R, and the RS-V currently priced from $32,240 there’s quite a price gap from the bottom to the top, but you do get a lot for your money. Plus, it’s something a little unique and a break from the usual small/medium hatches we see on the roads. Holden offers a 3 Year/100,000km warranty, and capped price servicing.
The new generation Holden Astra was a real surprise to drive, and one that I’d love to get behind the wheel again.