Euro­pean Car of Year

To hit NZ roads

Whangarei Report - - Driven - By Colin Smith

The win­ner of the Euro­pean Car of the Year 2016 award is ex­pected to reach New Zealand roads wear­ing Holden badges to­wards the end of 2016.

The sev­enth gen­er­a­tion GM Europe Astra — sold in both Opel and Vaux­hall branded ver­sions — was an­nounced as the 2016 win­ner of the award at the Geneva In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show.

The 52nd an­nual award was de­cided by 58 lead­ing au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ists from around Europe.

More than 40 new cars, from sporty road­sters to pre­mium lim­ou­sines and SUVS, were el­i­gi­ble for the award and seven fi­nal­ists had pre­vi­ously been cho­sen.

In the fi­nal round of vot­ing the Astra re­ceived a to­tal of 309 points and headed off the new Volvo XC90 with 294 points and the fourth gen­er­a­tion Mazda MX-5 which scored 202 points. The other fi­nal­ists were the Audi A4, The sev­enth gen­er­a­tion Opel/vaux­hall Astra will go on sale in New Zealand this year wear­ing Holden badges as the Euro­pean Car of the Year award win­ner.

Jaguar XE, Skoda Su­perb and BMW 7 Se­ries.

It is the fifth Car of the Year suc­cess for an Opel/vaux­hall model. The pre­vi­ous win­ners were the Astra (Kadett) Mk2 in 1984, Omega in 1987, In­signia in 2009 and the Am­pera (Chevro­let Volt)

in 2012.

“The new Astra rep­re­sents the start of a new era at Opel and vic­tory in this year’s ‘Car of the Year’ com­pe­ti­tion shows that we are on the right track,” said Opel CEO Dr Karl-thomas Neu­mann.

“It is an hon­our for us to re­ceive

such a pres­ti­gious award from lead­ing au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ists.”

The new Astra five-door hatch­back is set to play an im­por­tant role in Aus­trala­sia where Holden has a prod­uct pro­gramme that will in­tro­duce 24 new mod­els by the end of 2020.

As it phases out of Aus­tralian car man­u­fac­tur­ing, Holden ex­pects to source about one-third of its fu­ture mod­els from Europe along­side ve­hi­cles from North Amer­ica and Asia.

The COTY award con­tin­ues Astra’s win­ning streak since de­but­ing at the 2015 Frank­furt Auto Show. It has al­ready claimed in­ter­na­tional awards such as Safe­tybest 2015 and the 2015 Golden Steer­ing Wheel and has also re­ceived the max­i­mum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test.

The Astra is based on a new light­weight ve­hi­cle ar­chi­tec­ture and is pow­ered by the lat­est­gen­er­a­tion 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre tur­bocharged en­gines. Smart­phone in­te­gra­tion and the world-class con­nec­tiv­ity com­ple­ment ad­di­tional high-end tech­nol­ogy such as In­tellilux LED matrix headlights.

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