WHERE DOES IT FEEL AT HOME?
Here in Australia, we only get the Astra in three door configuration. So if you have kids, or you use your back seats a lot, that might irk you. Where the Astra seems happiest is around town with it’s decent boot and practical size. It’s also pretty good on more spirited drives with turbocharged engines across the range, and clever front suspension for impressive roadholding.
WHAT IT’S MADE FOR
The Astra chassis is a highlight from a performance point of view, from the GTC, to this GTC sport, to the top of line VXR model that really makes the most of it with a bigger, boostier, 2-litre engine, upgraded Brembo brakes and a 20-inch wheel and tyre package. It’s one for the hot hatch lovers and only comes with a manual gearbox. It’s keenly priced too. In fact the best thing about the whole Astra range is bang for bucks.
STAND OUT FEATURES
The Astra GTC is the entry model and wears a low starting price, but it still manages to pack in loads of standard kit including sat nav, auto headlights and wipers, parking sensors and a digital radio. For not much more you can get this version, the GTC Sport, with electric, heated leather seats, bigger wheels, dual zone climate control and LED taillights.
The European styling of the Astra appeals to us. It’s not as plain as other hatches on the market. The 1.6-litre models are reasonably fast and enjoyable to drive quickly, while the VXR gives the Golf GTI a run for its money.
THINGS WE'D LIKE TO CHANGE
This particular model is getting on a bit, and that’s most noticeable inside. The main display isn’t a touchscreen, so the centre console below it is a rather full-on buttonfest. There’s also no reversing camera, which is a shame, because the letter box rear window and chunky pillars make the Astra a little tough to see out of when moving backwards. A lot of the trim feels quite plasticky, though at this price we can’t complain too much about that.
WHO WILL IT SUIT?
It may not be the newest kid on the block, but keen drivers will still enjoy the performance of the Astra. And if you’re the budget conscious type, you’ll appreciate all the fruit Holden has stuffed inside for relatively little coin. If that’s you, it’s worth a closer look.
Click here to find out more about the Holden Astra GTC.