What stands out
Sure, the popular small car segment is hotly contested but the Astra stands out. Holden offers turbocharged engines, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment apps as standard. The chassis is lighter and the suspension and steering have been especially tuned for Australian conditions making for a comfortable ride over inner city potholes and bumps.
Inside, the Astra feels a little like the Tardis. Okay, it’s a small car but surprisingly there’s so much space. Four adults can easily fit inside. The Astra is comfortable and really nicely finished, especially at its price point … even if storage is a little bit mediocre and there’s only one USB charging point.
The good news is Astra has done away with all that cabin clutter and button-heavy dash. It looks much sleeker inside.
There are three Astra variants to choose from. All three offer a choice between a manual or automatic gearbox.
The entry level Astra R features a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, alloy wheels, a rear view camera and rear park assist and a set of LED daytime running lamps.
Spend a little more and the mid-tier Astra RS gets a more powerful 1.6L turbocharged engine, and the full set of active safety gear as standard. Including, automatic emergency braking, Forward Collision Alert with Head-Up Warning and Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist.
The top of the range Astra RS-V has even more goodies to make it look and feel premium. It has heated seats, a larger 8-inch colour touchscreen and how’s this for luxurious – a heated steering wheel. There’s also bigger alloy wheels and LED tail lamps, and if you want to go all out you can even add Holden’s IntelliLux LED Matrix headlights which – get this – automatically adapt the strength of the headlights to your driving conditions. No more startling oncoming traffic.
The Astra really impressed us with its performance, technology, economy and style. Holden is relying on this model, and it should do its bit to reinvigorate the brand.