2017 Holden Astra Review: The Sedans

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2017 Holden Astra LTZ

Priced From $20,490Information

Overall Rating

0

4.5 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

5 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

4 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

5 out of 5 stars

Technology

5 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProSpace, comfort, smooth ride, dealer network

  2. ConNo auto braking, cheap interior plastics

  3. The Pick: 2017 Holden Astra LT 4D Sedan

What stands out?

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The Holden Astra offers more space and ride comfort than the Astra hatchback. Unlike the hatch, which is built for Europeans by Opel in Poland, the Astra sedan is built in South Korea for comfort-loving drivers in the USA, where it sells as the Chevrolet Cruze. It has a turbocharged engine with plenty of go, and easily connects to your smartphone.

What might bug me?

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That your daughter’s Astra hatch feels more welcoming inside than your Astra sedan, with more soft surfaces.

That you keep turning up the music by accident. There are audio controls on the steering wheel, but they are located behind the spokes where you can’t see them.

Wondering why the additional safety provided by automatic emergency braking isn’t available in the sedan like it is with the Astra hatch even as an option.

Driving under 80km/h on the space-saver spare tyre until you can fix your full-sized flat.

What body styles are there?

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Four-door sedan. (A five-door hatchback has been available since December 2016 and is covered in a separate review. A station wagon joined the Astra range in October 2017).

The Astra sedan drives its front wheels, and is classed as a small car, lower priced.

What features do all Astra sedans have?

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Cruise control, reversing camera, and rear parking sensors (which help you judge how far the rear bumper is from obstacles).

An MP3 compatible sound system with AM/FM radio, Aux and USB inputs, Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming, voice control, and six speakers.

A colour touchscreen (7.0-inch on the less costly Astras) for controlling cabin functions. Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which lets you plug in a compatible smartphone and display on the touchscreen some of its apps (including mapping). You can then operate the apps from the touchscreen (or by voice).

Controls on the steering wheel for the cruise control, the audio system, and your phone.

Headlamps that switch on automatically when it’s getting dark, and daytime running lamps.

Aluminium alloy wheels (which look nicer than steel wheels with plastic hubcaps), and a speed-limited space-saver spare wheel.

Hill-start assist, which makes it easier to take off on an uphill slope (by controlling the brakes automatically). Traction control, which prevents you from spinning a front wheel if you try to accelerate hard where it’s slippery.

Electronic stability control, which can help you control a skidding car. All new cars must have this feature.

Six airbags. (For the placement of airbags, and more on Astra safety systems, please open the Safety section below.)

Every Holden Astra carries a three-year, 100,000 kilometre warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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Only one engine is available in an Astra sedan, a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol.

It’s reasonably economical, with official testing (city and country combined) showing about 6.0L/100km.

This is a smooth, quiet and strong little engine that propels the Astra very effectively.

A six-speed manual transmission is available only with the least costly LS, with a six speed auto an extra cost option. The LS+, LT and LTZ are only available with auto transmission.

The auto is a conventional torque-converter type, which offers smooth take-offs around town and satisfyingly swift responses to your demands on the open road.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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The least costly Astra sedan, the Astra LS, comes with 16-inch wheels, cloth seats, manual air-conditioning, and the features supplied with all Astra sedans. A manual gearbox is standard, with auto an extra-cost option

Spend some more and you can have an LS+, which comes with the automatic transmission as standard. The main addition is a suite of active safety aids that look out for you in case your attention strays. It comprises a forward collision alert, forward distance indicator, lane-keeping assistance, and lane departure warning.

You also get leather wrap on the steering wheel, high-beam assist (which automatically dips the headlights when it senses an approaching vehicle) and LED daytime running lights.

Spend more for an Astra sedan LT and you get the LS+ additions plus 17-inch wheels and a rear lip spoiler, which contribute a sportier look. You can unlock an Astra LT and drive away without removing its smart key from your bag or pocket. Windscreen wipers work automatically when it starts raining.

As well, front parking sensors augment those at the rear, and advanced park assist can steer you automatically into a parking spot. The exterior mirrors are heated, to remove frost and misting, and have warning lights to let you know when another vehicle is in your blind spot. Infotainment extras include a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, digital radio (DAB+), and built-in satellite navigation.

Spending more again for an LTZ brings you more luxury, including an electric sunroof, climate control (which lets you set different ventilation temperatures), leather on the seats and the seats and steering wheel can be heated. The wheels grow to 18 inches, and are wrapped in lower profile tyres for marginally sharper steering and a sportier look. Visual differences include chrome interior highlights and chrome window surrounds.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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The bigger 18-inch tyres on the Astra LTZ may cost more to replace. And their wider diameter and sporty lower-profile means they will feel bumpier to drive on than the smaller tyres fitted to the other Astras, because the shallower sidewalls leave less air and rubber between you and the road.

You can have white or red paint as standard. The other colours cost extra.

How comfortable is the Astra sedan?

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Space is the Astra sedan’s strong suit. It comfortably seats four tall adults, or a family of five and its generous legroom that makes it feel like a medium-sized sedan.

The ride is surprisingly smooth, with the suspension set to suit rougher Australian roads.

It’s tremendously quiet too. The 1.4-litre turbo engine feels very smooth, and road noise is suppressed very well.

The cabin design looks good and everything is thoughtfully laid out including the touchscreen and associated control buttons. Cabin storage includes deep door pockets and a centre console bin, though it could do with more space to place a smartphone in front of the gear shift where the USB sockets are located.

On the downside, the Astra sedan’s interior doesn’t quite match the quality of the Astra hatch, with few soft-touch surfaces to break up the hard plastics that make up the dashboard, door cards and centre console.

What about safety in an Astra sedan?

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Every Astra comes with six airbags: one each ahead of the driver and front passenger; an airbag outside each front occupant at chest level to protect from side impacts; and side-curtain airbags extending past both seat rows at head level.
All Astras also have the mandatory stability control, seatbelt pre-tensioners for front and rear passengers, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors and dusk-sensing auto-on headlights.
Every Astra except for the least costly, the Astra LS, has LED daytime running lamps, which help other drivers see you.

Every Astra but the LS also has a forward collision alert, which warns you if it detects a collision is likely via an audible alarm and flashing light. (A camera scans the road ahead for obstacles.) The system also tells you how many seconds you are behind the car in front, so that you can maintain a safe braking distance.

The camera also monitors road markings, and triggers an alert if you have begun to drift wide of your lane – perhaps through distraction or fatigue. It can also apply a light steering correction, to wake you up and help bring the car back.

The more expensive Astra LT and LTZ also come with a blind-spot monitor, which alerts you to a vehicle approaching on your side by shining an amber light located on the wing mirror. If you indicate to change lanes on that side, the light will flash.

The Astra Sedan is not equipped with automatic emergency barking.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) awarded all Astra the sedan variants five stars for safety, its maximum, in May 2017.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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The Astra sedan is designed with comfort in mind, and achieves this well with a smooth ride around town and on less refined country roads.

That ride comfort comes at the expense of dynamic handling, so, if you like to drive hard around corners, you probably won’t enjoy this as much as you would the Astra hatch.

The quiet 1.4 litre engine easily pulls a car-load of people up reasonably steep inclines without much fuss, especially when paired with the six-speed automatic transmission that’s standard on the LS+, LT and LTZ.

How is life in the rear seats?

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The Astra sedan comfortably seats two adults or three children. There is plenty of legroom and the seat backrest is tilted at a comfortable angle, which provides a relaxed and reclined posture.

Headroom is generous, despite the swept back roof, though side vision is obstructed because of the tapered shape of the rear door window.

Folding the centre armrest down reveals a soft armrest with two cupholders.

There are no rear air-conditioning vents.

How is the Astra Sedan for carrying stuff?

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The boot is about as good as it gets for a small sedan, allowing a total of 445 litres of cargo to be carried with the rear seats up. That is about the same as the boot in a Subaru Imprezasedan, for example, and nearly much as you can squeeze into medium sized car such as a Ford Mondeo and Mazda6.

Where is the Astra sedan made?

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The Holden Astra Sedan is made in Gunsan, South Korea

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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Auto braking, which is increasingly becoming available small on cars, including the Astra hatchback, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Mazda3.

Among several other small sedans worth considering are the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mitsubishi Lancer and Renault Megane.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

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Every Astra sedan has the same engine, and feels about the same to drive. So it is just a matter of deciding how much equipment you need.

Our reviewers like the Astra LT. It brings you the active safety suite, better infotainment than the less costly Astras, and smart-key entry, for a fair price premium.

Are there plans to update the Astra sedan soon?

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The Astra sedan arrived in June 2017. Expect a minor update about 2019.