Holden As­tra no se­date sedan

Albany Advertiser - - MO­TOR­ING - Derek Og­den

Home-grown Hold­ens may have been con­signed to the realm of the di­nosaur, but the Aus­tralian arm of Gen­eral Mo­tors is keep­ing up with the times, cherry-picking the lat­est ve­hi­cles from around the globe.

A re­cent ar­rival is the As­tra sedan, which slots nicely into the gap be­tween the hatch­back, launched late last year, and the wagon, to be un­veiled this year.

It makes sense, for in these days of sporty hatches, sleek coupes and ver­sa­tile SUVs there still ap­pears to be a place for the tra­di­tional sedan, with its three-box struc­ture mak­ing for a se­cure (lock­able) boot, keep­ing stuff out of sight.

The new As­tra is also a world away from the old idea of a se­date sedan. De­signed in North Amer­ica, en­gi­neered in Eu­rope and man­u­fac­tured in South Korea, Holden’s Aussie en­gi­neers had their two cents worth of in­put, get­ting their hands on the damper, chas­sis con­trols and steer­ing tun­ing to give the lo­cals what they want.

The get-up-and-go is supplied by an all-alu­minium 1.4-litre tur­bocharged en­gine, putting out 110kW of power and up to 245Nm of torque. The As­tra sedan comes in four spec lev­els — LS, LS+, LT and LTZ — and is one of the most spa­cious in the field of small cars.

The lat­est tech­nol­ogy is on hand to pro­vide a high level of driver as­sis­tance and a five-star safety rat­ing is aug­mented by aids such as rear-view cam­era and rear park as­sist as stan­dard, while up­per­spec mod­els get ex­tras in­clud­ing lane keep­ing as­sist, for­ward col­li­sion alert and blind spot alert.

Prices be­gin at $21,990 drive­away for the LS man­ual, while the range is topped at $29,790 for the LTZ au­to­matic. The lat­ter was the test ve­hi­cle.

An ex­ten­sion of the Chevro­let Cruze de­sign, the ra­di­a­tor grille has been given an Aussie slant with in­put from GM de­sign­ers here ad­ding, as Holden tells us, “ma­tu­rity and so­phis­ti­ca­tion” and a recog­nis­able point of dif­fer­ence from the cor­re­spond­ing hatch­back.”

Looks apart, prac­ti­cal­ity holds sway with a slimmed-down struc­ture up to 120kg lighter than the model it re­places. Aero­dy­nam­ics ben­e­fit as well with a co-ef­fi­cient of fric­tion of 0.30.

There is no ig­nor­ing the fact that

the As­tra is a small car and not so wel­com­ing for five grown-ups, with shoul­der and leg room more suited to mum, dad and up to three pre-teen chil­dren.

Re­mote en­try and push-but­ton en­gine fir­ing get things off to an easy start, while an elec­tric sun­roof opens up the cabin to fresh air and nat­u­ral light, while heated leather seats take the chill off an early morn­ing win­ter start.

The LTZ takes ad­van­tage of an eight-inch colour touch­screen (lower grades make do with a seven-inch) with Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto com­pat­i­bil­ity, plus em­bed­ded satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion.

The only pow­er­plant on of­fer is a 1.4-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine, pro­duc­ing 110kW of power and up to 245Nm of torque mated to a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

A to­tal of six airbags in­clude dual front, side and cur­tain exam- ples. Elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol is joined by ABS anti-skid brakes, trac­tion con­trol and hill start as­sist. A rear view cam­era and rear park as­sist are stan­dard across the range, while LTZ also takes ad­van­tage of front park as­sist.

Also in­cor­po­rated in LTZ is Holden Eye, a for­ward-fac­ing cam­era fea­tur­ing lane keep­ing as­sist, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, for­ward col­li­sion alert, for­ward dis­tance in­di­ca­tor and blind spot alert.

Sprightly, spa­cious and ver­sa­tile, the Holden As­tra is all of the above, and has not missed out in the good looks depart­ment. Fuel econ­omy is near the top of the seg­ment too, with the test car record­ing 9 litres per 100km in day-to-day city driv­ing and a lit­tle over half that at mo­tor­way speeds.

Holden says its en­gi­neers fo­cused on tun­ing the As­tra sedan to be com­fort­able on poor qual­ity bi­tu­men, rail­way and tram tracks, and un­sealed roads with bro­ken sur­faces — par for the course in our part of the world. The test ve­hi­cle ticked all the boxes on var­ied but none too ex­treme ex­am­ples.

Added con­fi­dence came with pre­cise steer­ing and chas­sis con­trols giv­ing a di­rect feed­back and al­low­ing the driver time to re­act ac­cord­ingly. This showed the 100,000km of pri­vate and pub­lic test­ing on home soil was far from wasted.

Holden As­tra boasts a class-lead­ing 445 litres of boot vol­ume. And with 1200kg tow­ing ca­pa­bil­ity and trailer sway con­trol, it is not left be­hind in prac­ti­cal­ity.

While the As­tra sedan is aimed at the niche mar­ket of ma­ture own­ers with no kids, it has called on a world of cre­ativ­ity in de­sign and tech­nol­ogy to set it apart from oth­ers in the small-car mar­ket.

Your lo­cal Holden dealer is Al­bany City Mo­tors, 9842 8000.

Pic­ture: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

The new Holden As­tra sedan stands apart vis­ually front and back.

Holden As­tra boasts a class-lead­ing 445 litres of boot vol­ume.

The LTZ takes ad­van­tage of an eight-inch colour touch­screen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.