The V puts emphasis on visual
Sales should spike
month marked the arrival of an active driving assistance option for the base Astra R and the six-speed auto for the 1.6litre engine, giving the Astra an entry version for fleet and rental sales along with the allimportant self-shifter for its more expensive engines. Sales were just under 800 for April or about a third of the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 volumes, so there’s plenty of room to grow. Power corrupts
four-cylinder turbo RS-V puts out a creditable 147kW/280Nm, pumped to the front wheels via a six-speed manual. Torque steer — where the front wheels struggle to grip when accelerating — is evident when the going gets more demanding. At legal speeds it is only an issue on slick roads and the fact you’re prepared to have a crack in the first place is testament to the quality of the basic set-up. Holden helped with the tuning so ride is decent and steering is responsive. Quality varies
bits you usually touch and feel in the Astra have been fabricated to please, with largely soft-touch surfaces and high-gloss finishes. Look again and some of those materials aren’t perfectly aligned and the plastics aren’t the classiest in the automotive inventory. The Astra matches the competition in Android/Apple mirroring and active driving aids to earn a five-star ANCAP rating, though it’s worth noting the autonomous emergency braking didn’t score highly. The reversing camera is also not the highest resolution, with a grainy display at night. V is for visual bling The RS-V is $4500 dearer than the RS and most of that spend is on appearance items. The rims are accordingly lifted from 17 to 18 inches, the infotainment screen stretches to eight inches and an electric parking brake replaces the manual lever mechanism to clean up the centre console. On top of that is leather upholstery with heated steering wheel and front seats, satnav, dual-zone aircon (but no rear air vents) and a remote start. Better check the extras
RS-V is listed at $30,740 and an can be had for about $34,000 on the road (it varies between states; check the Holden website). The auto is a $1000 option and any paint other than red or white will add $550. The Astra needs servicing every nine months or 15,000km and the first four visits will cost $916. Options include a $1990 Touring Pack with electric sunroof and adaptive cruise control, or an Innovations Pack at $3990 which adds the roof and cruise control along with adaptive LED matrix headlamps that dim individual diodes to spare approaching traffic from high-beam glare.