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Holden's import bargains

By Daniel DeGasperi, 05 May 2017 News

Holden Astra VXR

The VXR experiment resulting in dirt-cheap second-hand performance

You have to feel for people who bought an Opel in Australia only for General Motors (GM) to ruthlessly pull the brand from sale and watch – from afar – resale values sink like a lead balloon. 

The cars in question, the Astra and Insignia VXR - if we forget the entertaining but short-lived Corsa for a moment - were re-introduced as Holdens before recently being killed off once again, but sales weren't exactly stirring.

Bad news for Holden, but for car enthusiasts it at least results in good European-built performance cars going out with dirt-cheap pricetags.

Holden Astra VXR
Take the Astra VXR, Holden’s best hot-hatchback in years. With 206kW at 5300rpm and 400Nm at 2400rpm, MOTOR has clocked a 6.58sec 0-100km/h for this 2.0-litre turbo, six-speed manual three-door complete with LSD, Recaros and Brembos.

A competitive $39,990 plus on-road costs new, scanning the classifieds in the Holden-Euro-fire sale revealed 2015 brand new examples priced between $28,995 and $31,490. It gets even better for a 2016 example with just 3000km on the clock, advertised for an astonishing $25,490 – or base Hyundai i30 and Toyota Corolla money – and in as-new condition.

Great buy now; not so for those few buyers who paid closer to retail prices.

Holden Insignia VXR
The Insignia VXR, meanwhile, follows a long line of Holden medium-sized nameplates – Torana, Camira, Apollo, Vectra, Epica, Malibu, all inside three decades – and perishes this year, given the next Insignia will be rebadged Commodore for our market.

With 239kW at 5950rpm and 435Nm at 5250rpm, the 2.8-litre turbo V6 sedan was overpriced when new at $51,990. But there was a rough diamond in this laggy then boosty, cramped but willing Opel; more of a WRX in European clothes than a cut-price Audi S4.

Now, at almost half the price, the Insignia VXR is more impressive. We saw a 2015 example for $31,990 with 7000km on the clock, or a 2016 for $36,890 with 2300km. Want a brand new example? Holden dealerships are flogging leftover stock for $39,990 driveaway.

Holden Insignia VXR interior
Holden is attempting to reform itself towards October 20 when its local manufacturing facilities close and it becomes a full-line importer for the first time. The new Astra is a great car and the next Commodore looks promising in all-wheel drive V6 format.

For now, though, there are some great performance bargains to be had.