Despite the fact that Holden is nothing short of legendary car brand in Australia, all of its production is about to be shifted overseas when the last facility close there during this year. Holden wasn’t just an offer from one car brand, it was an entry point to Australian turf for any GM model, and the current lineup is a mixture of Opel, Chevrolet, Daewoo or more precisely GM Korea, and some of its own vehicles.
Opel was delivering its Astra model in Australia with changing success. The fifth generation withdraws from the market in 2009 due to the fluctuations of prices. Then we had empty gap till 2015 and reintroduction of Astra but only for one year and only in GTC form. Finally, Europe available, fifth generation model properly came to Australia as 2017 Holden Astra in its seventh reincarnation there.
2017 Holden Astra STYLING
The new vehicle is more evolution of the design of the previous generation than revolution, but a smart one. The overall shape is sleeker, we have handsome floating roof effect, which is sloped, by the way, lots of tighter and more pronounced lines, totally abandoning plump shape of the predecessor. What we are getting is an exceptionally more athletic model, but it still stays within usual norms, not doing anything excessive.
Interior designers had totally different ideas this time, so dash overly populated with buttons is a thing of the past. The main visual thing now is a 7.0-inch touchscreen with latest MyLink software, supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with just a small number of buttons around it. The new cabin is more elegant and new thinner steering wheel replacing old chubby one is of great help in that sense.
Materials and fit and finish are decent, but not in an outrageous manner, and same goes for 370 liters (11 cu ft) boot.
There are four trims in Australia, base R, then R Plus, RS, and RS-V. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloys, auto headlights, daytime running lights, keyless entry and ignition but with the need to slot the key into ignition opening, pretty much denying keyless part of any sense, cruise control, and a rearview camera with rear sensors, among else. You will lack some things with entry level version as climate control and navigation, so you should review upper ones also.
2017 Holden Astra PERFORMANCE
In Australia, engine offer is reduced to two petrol choices. You can either chose 1.4-liter turbocharged I4 delivering 110 kW (150 hp) and 245 Nm (181 lb-ft), taking 8.3 seconds to 60 mph, while consuming 5.8L/100km (42 mpg combined). Turbo awakens at low rpm, managing to keep it steady into the mid-range while losing its breath afterward. Perfect for everyday use, boring for any wild driving, which will not happen anyway in this type of car.
You can opt for stronger engine option going along with RS and RS-V trim, and it brings 1.6-liter I4 turbocharged engine boosting 147 kW (197 hp) and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft). You have a manual or 6-speed automatic transmission as a choice, which despite being sort of old school, does provide smooth shifts. Astra can be driven in a joyous manner, it is nimble and moderately sharp, but there is not much communication from the wheel.
If you are thinking about going for 2017 Holden Astra, you are pretty interested in its price we guess. Currently, it starts from $21,990 ($16,707 American ones) without on road costs, but the base model is not crash tested so far, and before it undergoes that it must receive additional safety pack which will raise the price for $1,000 ($760 USD) when it happens during this month.
Drive away price would be then $26,600 ($20,210 USD) which is around same as Focus, though Ford is faster and better equipped, while it is above VW Golf by more than three grand, placing Astra in unwanted pricing position. Knowing all this, it is time for some thorough thinking before a decision is made.