Nifty As­tra sedan flies the flag for Holden

Geraldton Guardian - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

Holden is se­ri­ous about its smallto-medium As­tra range.

In De­cem­ber it launched a five­door hatch; a four-door sedan — the sub­ject of this test in topline LTZ for­mat — came out in June this year, and a sta­tion wagon will be added be­fore the end of the year.

Sales of the hatch were not as high as GM-Holden hoped and were not helped by the tra­di­tion­ally slow Jan­uary-Fe­bru­ary hol­i­day and back-to-school pe­ri­ods.

So rec­om­mended prices were dropped a few months af­ter the launch to try to kick things along.

The As­tra sedan is built in a GM fac­tory in South Korea. It’s fin­ished to the high stan­dard that has im­pressed us in ve­hi­cles from that coun­try in re­cent years.

The Holden As­tra sits on all-new ve­hi­cle mod­u­lar ar­chi­tec­ture that trims weight by as much as 120kg com­pared to the old model.

This adds per­for­mance at the same time as fuel con­sump­tion de­creases.

In­fo­tain­ment is cen­tred on a colour touch­screen that is neatly in­te­grated into the stylish dash­board.

It uses the lat­est Holden MyLink sys­tem with Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto.

There is USB in­put with iPod con­nec­tiv­ity.

A clever de­sign fea­ture is the thumb rest to steady your hand while reach­ing the screen with your fore­fin­ger. There is a com­pre­hen­sive range.

The en­try level As­tra LS has 16inch al­loy wheels, a seven-inch colour touch­screen, steer­ing wheel­mounted con­trols, a six-speaker au­dio sys­tem and cruise con­trol.

The As­tra LS+ adds a leather-faced steer­ing wheel, au­to­matic

high beam, LED day­time run­ning lights, Holden Eye for­ward-fac­ing cam­era, lane keep as­sist, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, for­ward dis­tance in­di­ca­tor and for­ward col­li­sion alert.

The As­tra LT fea­tures 17-inch al­loy wheels, an eight-inch touch­screen and DAB+ ra­dio.

Heated door mir­rors are handy in wet weather.

It also has front park as­sist, side blindspot alert, pas­sive en­try, push-but­ton start, ad­vanced park as­sist, and au­to­matic wipers.

The topline As­tra LTZ we tested had 18-inch al­loy wheels, cli­mate­con­trolled air, an elec­tric sun­roof, chromed ex­te­rior win­dow sur­rounds, chromed in­te­rior high­lights com­bined with pi­ano black (the lat­ter, as usual, pick­ing up dust within min­utes of be­ing brushed) and heated front seats.

The only en­gine of­fered in the Holden As­tra sedan is a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol pro­duc­ing 110kW of power and 240Nm of torque in the six-speed au­to­matic we tested.

On the safety front, all mod­els have six airbags, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, au­to­matic head­lights, a rear view cam­era and rear park as­sist.

The front seats are a good size, and com­fort­able in nor­mal driv­ing, though there’s less side sup­port than you may like if you do ham­mer it along.

Rear seats have space for two adults and they will have enough legroom un­less those in the front like their seats well back.

A third grown-up can fit with­out too much hip-and-shoul­der rub­bing.

The boot is well shaped and a good size, its added vol­ume be­ing an ad­van­tage in any sedan when com­pared with a hatch.

How­ever, the coupe-like slope at the As­tra’s rear does mean it can’t carry very bulky items.

The 1.4-litre turbo en­gine is a lively unit that’s a real plea­sure to sit be­hind.

There is some turbo lag, but once that has passed there is plenty of torque to pro­vide good hill climb­ing and safe over­tak­ing.

Fuel con­sump­tion was in the 5- 6 litres/100km range dur­ing mo­tor­way sec­tions of our drive route.

This rose to 7-9 litres/100km around town. Per­fectly ac­cept­able in this class and a sign that the re­duced weight of the car plays its part.

GM-Holden en­gi­neers and stylists were heav­ily in­volved in the global scene from the ear­li­est days of this As­tra’s de­sign.

So it doesn't sur­prise that its steer­ing and ride are very much tailored to Aus­tralian driver tastes and harsh Aussie road con­di­tions.

Com­modore buy­ers mov­ing down to an As­tra will have plenty to like.

Com­modore buy­ers mov­ing down to an As­tra will have plenty to like.

In­fo­tain­ment is neatly in­te­grated into the stylish dash­board.

Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

Neat styling that's likely to re­main time­less is a fea­ture of the new Holden As­tra sedan.

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