Holden has confirmed it will soon replace the locally produced Holden Cruze sedan with an Astra-badged version that will be positioned more as a "comfort, mainstream" offering rather than the sportier hatch.
However, the small four-door that will compete with the likes of the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and Subaru Impreza is very different to the recently arrived Astra hatch. While the two share the same Delta II architecture and some mechanical components, there are no shared panels resulting in a distinctly different look; the hatch is focused on Europe and the sedan on Asia and the US.
Holden design boss Richard Ferlazzo said the sedan's unique look was aligned to that of the imported Commodore due in February 2018; a car based on the Opel Insignia.
“Our Australian designers have styled a unique Holden face with exclusive new front fascia and grille, closely aligning with the next generation Commodore to give a more cohesive look to not Astra, but to the wider Holden product range," said Ferlazzo.
To be sourced from Korea and due on sale in May, 2017 the Astra sedan will be more affordable than the Poland-sourced Astra hatch that arrived in December last year; expect a starting price of around $20K.
"It will be cheaper. There will be different features as well, though," said Holden chairman and managing director Mark Bernhard.
It will be powered exclusively by the 1.4-litre turbo engine used in the base Astra hatch, missing out on the peppier 1.6 turbo.
The Holden Astra sedan will also get some different features and likely miss out on the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) that’s available in the hatch and becoming increasingly popular in small cars.
Rather than focus on the differences, Holden is keen to push the global nature of the Astra family.
“Astra sedan is a truly global vehicle, developed in Europe, manufactured in Korea and finished with design elements and significant engineering input from Holden," said Holden product planning director Marinos Panayiotou.
“Astra’s luxurious interior is complemented by advanced driver and connectivity technology in addition to progressive exterior styling which, when you add to the hatch variant, gives Holden a strong line-up in the small-car segment.”
Holden sales director Peter Keley is also looking to the European engineering rather than the Korean build, perhaps understandable given Holden's underwhelming line-up of Korean vehicles over the past decade.
"Whether it’s the world-class sports hatch, stylish coupe or sophisticated sedan, the Astra nameplate communicates European engineering and global design strength and a strong reputation for reliability, earned over a 30 year association with Holden,” Keley said.
The Astra sedan is the 13th of 24 planned new or updated Holden models due by 2020.
Holden switches to a full-line importer late this year as it winds up almost 40 years of Holden Commodore production, and almost 70 years of Australian car production.