The Holden Astra RS-V is the sporty range topper of Holden’s new German-designed small car. It comes equipped with a suite of driver assistance functions and a host of creature comforts making it one of the most well-equipped cars to wear a Holden badge. It’s also quick, with a 1.6-litre turbo engine and excellent handling that dials things up towards hot hatch territory.
- The 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine pushes out 147kW which is more than enough power for this car. You can feel it lunge when you put the foot down especially in Sport mode and it has plenty of oomph in reserve.
- Driver enjoyment is enhanced by driving modes including Sport which adjusts engine tune, suspension and electronic steering for even better handling. The steering has been tuned for Australian conditions and the new chassis provides excellent body control.
- Choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
- Fuel economy is very good for car with so much go. Holden claims a combined economy rating of 6.3L/100km. I averaged around 7.0L/100kms mostly driving around town and freeways in Sport mode.
- The driver assist system makes this one of the best ever equipped Holdens and includes autonomous braking, collision alert, active cruise control, lane keeping assist and blind spot alert. It even tells you how many seconds you are behind the car in front, which is often not too many.
- Standard equipment in the RS-V includes an 8-inch colour touch screen, DAB+ digital radio, 18-inch allow wheels, heated front seats and steering wheel, shark fin antenna, automatic engine stop-start, auto wipers and LED head and tail lights.
- It’s roomy. The chassis is smaller than its predecessor however they’ve managed to fit more interior space. The two outer back seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of leg and head room, though like any small car the middle seat is a little tight for adults.
- The interior looks good and has an air of quality about it. Like most Holdens the leather-appointed front seats are firm at first but get comfortable and supportive once you settle in. The driver’s seat has four-way lumbar support.
- The MyLink infotainment system is complicated. I had to work out most functions through trial and error which sometimes meant having to pull the car over. For some reason my USB connection kept cutting out while in Apple CarPlay.
- Unlike some other systems, Lane Keeping Assist only works when road lines are clear. This means it can become unavailable when lines are fading or in bright sunlight or rain.
Any rivals I should consider?
There’s no shortage of performance hatches and the Astra fits well alongside most of the range-toppers from other brands including Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Mazda3. It’s not in the same hot-hatch territory as the Ford Focus RS and Golf R, but holds its own against the Focus ST and Golf GTi.