The German designed but Polish-made Holden Astra is an attractive, nicely finished five-door hatchback that’s brimming with features including automatic emergency braking. It drives and handles very well and offers a choice of a 1.4- or 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engines mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The Holden Astra comes in three model grades; R, RS and RS-V (compare specs here). The entry-level R, priced from $21,490, comes with cruise control with a speed limiter, 7.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, digital radio, dusk-sensing headlights, a Sport driving mode, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a hill-start assistance system.
The $26,240 RS graduates to the more powerful 1.6-litre engine and comes with an advanced driver assistance pack (which becomes standard from the $22,740 R+ up) featuring forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and lane-keeping assistance. It also comes with steering that helps you into a car park, blind spot monitoring, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The range-topping $30,740 RS-V has all that plus a sportier look including LED taillights and lower profile tyres wrapped around 18-inch alloys. Inside gets leather-trimmed seats, dual-zone climate control, front-seat lumbar support, a heated steering wheel and a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen with in-built satellite navigation.
- Astra R manual - $21,490
- Astra R auto – $22,490
- Astra RS manual - $26,240
- Astra RS auto - $27,240
- Astra RS-V manual - $30,740
- Astra RS-V auto - $31,740
Our pick – Holden Astra RS
One of the safest cars in its class, the Holden Astra RS is a lot of car for less than $30,000 – the quick-shifting manual in particular provides great value. Apart from mostly cosmetic enhancements it doesn’t lack much compared with the RS-V, and we prefer the RS’s more supportive cloth seats and its smoother ride on the smaller 17-inch wheels. The tractable 1.6-litre turbo engine provides plenty of oomph for highway driving, and giving a combined fuel economy of 6.1L/100kms.
If you mostly drive around town the Astra R+, which is a 1.4-litre Astra R with the $1250 optional advanced driver assistance pack patched on, is also an excellent choice and is one of the best equipped cars on the road -- in terms of active safety -- priced from less than $25,000.
- Advanced Driver Assistance Pack [R only] - $1250
- Premium paint - $550
- Touring pack [RS-V only] with powered sunroof and adaptive cruise control - $1990
- Innovations Pack [RS-V only] is the Touring Pack with adaptive LED headlights - $3990
- Sill plates - $190
- Alloy pedal covers - $230
- Tailored carpet mats - $155
Options to consider
Adding the Advanced Driver Assistance Pack makes the Astra R+ an excellent choice.