Almost a decade has passed since we last saw the Holden Astra Sedan name in Australia. Now, the name returns and replaces the locally built Holden Cruze which production ended in October 2016.
With such well built and optioned rivals as the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra, we find ourselves asking if Holden has made the right decision in bringing back the Holden Astra Sedan.
Over time, less small cars are sold in manual, which we believe is the reason why only the base model LS is offered with a manual transmission. The three superior grades – LS+, LT and LTZ, are available in automatic only. Prices start from $20,490 for the LS model in manual ($1,000 more for automatic) and tops off at $29,790 for the LTZ.
The Astra Sedan is based on the Chevrolet Cruze sold in the US but with a restyled front end and a grille similar to the Astra hatch. Both cars share no common body panels, with only the drivetrain and platform seeing duty in both. The sedan’s styling is more conservative, yet pleasing to the eye with sleek lines that flow along the body and inside the cabin. Even though the Chevrolet Cruze has fog lights and there appears to be a place for them, fog lights are no where to be seen on the Astra. Instead, we have daylight running lights built into the headlights which add a bit of elegance and premium feel.
Once inside, there is a sense of luxury with chrome accents around the air vents and leather cross stitching along the dash, door trim and seats. The luxurious feel is further enhanced by the inclusion of premium features encompassing front heated seats with three settings, a sunroof and an intuitive 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
If like us, you were wondering where the steering wheel mounted infotainment controls were, you may want to run your fingers behind the steering wheel spokes as Holden has relocated them there. While they might take some getting used to initially, once familiar, we found the location is preferred to the front of the wheel as they feel more intuitive and leaves the front for the cruise control and driver information display adjustment.
As you hop in the driver seat, you will immediately find the seating position feels deep, yet comfortable and secure due to the high door sills. To compensate for this, the seats have a large range of adjustments for shorter drivers and there is a good amount of head room for the taller drivers. Legroom in the back seats is generous for a small sedan, however, head room is slightly compromised due to the slopping roof line. Not only is the interior is spacious, the boot has a considerable 445-litre, which is 85-litre larger than the hatch. The generous size is partly due to the length of the Astra and the height of the boot which reduces rear visibility slightly.
The Astra Sedan is reintroduced with only the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine and while there is a diesel option available overseas, it isn’t offered locally. The 1.4-litre turbo engine produces a competitive 110kW and 240Nm of torque, yet a respectable fuel economy rating of 6.1L/100km on 91 octane fuel. Our tests reported fuel consumption of 8.0L/100km on a combination of urban and highway roads. The engine is appreciably quiet inside and out, while the automatic transmission is responsive and shifts smoothly. Overall, the engine and transmission is an extremely refined combination resulting in an enjoyable experience.
The brakes feel progressive while the steering is light and nimble but with little feedback. The Astra LTZ rides on 18-inch wheels as standard but an-inch smaller wheels may have suited the car better for ride comfort due to their bump absorption ability and reduced road noise. Having said that, Holden has done a fine job in tuning the Astra Sedan to suit local conditions, as it feels composed around the bend yet comfortable enough for the daily commute and long distance drive.
The Astra Sedan’s build quality has improve substantially over the Cruze, each panel aligns with minimal gaps. Cabin ambience is a bit step up with the use of faux leather trim combined with glossy black plastic and shiny chrome accents.
As standard, the base LS comes with 16″ alloy wheels, automatic headlights, daytime running lamps, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (standard across the whole Holden range), 6 airbags, 6-speaker audio system, cruise control, rear park assist and rear view camera.
At just over a $9,000 premium over the base LS, the LTZ comes feature packed with 8-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation, DAB+, 18″ alloy wheels, electric sunroof, leather seats, front heated seats, climate control, remote start, LED daytime running lamps and 4.2-inch driver information display. Unfortunately unlike its hatch sibling, Automatic Emergency Braking is missing. However, Holden has included a forward collision alert that flashes red LEDs on the windscreen and beeps if the system thinks you are in danger of crashing into the vehicle in front. Adding to the safety aspect, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, following distance indicator and side blind spot alert are also standard.
Design and Comfort: 8.5/10
Performance and Handling: 8.0/10
Equipment and Features: 7.5/10
While the new Holden Astra Sedan may lack some of the more advanced features of its competitors, its luxurious interior and comfortable ride will appeal to less demanding drivers. It also feels more well built than the Holden Cruze.
- Composed and comfortable
- Premium cabin ambience
- Quiet and refined engine
- Big boot
- No automatic emergency braking
- Only one engine option
- Rear visibility
2017 Holden Astra Sedan Pricing and Specification
|Pricing (Excluding on-road costs):||1.4L turbo LS manual – $20,490
1.4L turbo LS automatic – $21,490
1.4L turbo LS+ automatic – $22,740
1.4L turbo LT automatic – $25,790
1.4L turbo LTZ automatic – $29,790
As tested: $29,790 (LTZ automatic)
|Warranty:||3-year / 100,000 km|
|Country of Origin:||South Korea|
|Service Intervals:||9 months/15,000km|
|Engine:||Turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol:
110kW @ 6,500rpm, 240Nm @ 2000-4000rpm
|Transmission:||6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic|
|Power-to-weight Ratio (W/kg):||87.0 (LS manual); 86.4 (LS auto, LS+, LT); 85.6 (LTZ)|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||
Claimed: 5.8 (manual) / 6.1 (auto); Tested: 8.0 (auto)
|Fuel Capacity (L):||48|
|Safety:||5-star ANCAP, 7 airbags, inflatable rear seatbelt (outer), ESP, ABS, BA, EBD, reverse camera, rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, Active City Stop and automatic park assist|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4,665/1,807/1,457/2,700|
|Boot space (L):||445|
|Kerb Weight (kg):||1,275 – 1,318|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||Braked: 1,200kg
|Entertainment:||8” touchscreen with SYNC 3, Bluetooth, 8 speakers, DAB+, USB, SD, iPod|