THE Commodore is no more, so if you’re a committed Holden fan, get used to the Astra.
We really liked the Euro-produced hatch reviewed a few weeks ago but today we’re in the Astra sedan – which comes from Korea and despite having the same motor, is a totally different car.
It’s an attractive number with sleek styling, good accommodation in the cabin and boot, and it replaces the earlier Cruze.
The sedan comes in a choice of four models: the LS, at $20,490 with manual transmission, $21,490 for the automatic, the LS+ which adds LED daytime running lights, a leather-rimmed steering wheel and some extra safety gear, for an extra $1250, the up-spec $27,990 LT and the LTZ – which is what we’re looking at here – at $29,790.
Standard fare includes 18-inch alloys, a reversing camera, rear parking radar, auto-on headlights and wipers, keyless entry and ignition, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, satnav, DAB+ digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather trimmed and heated front seats and an electric sunroof.
What more could you possibly want?
Blind spot alert and park assist? Yes, both worthwhile and both included.
Autonomous emergency braking? Get a life.
It does, however, have other modern-day sillies such as forward collision and lane departure warning, which, thankfully, can be switched off so you can concentrate on driving the car, rather than vice versa.
All four models have a 110kW/240Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol motor that drives the front wheels and the LTZ gets a six-speed automatic transmission.
The 1.4 was a surprise, since the car feels very much like a 2litre on the road.
Brisk acceleration, easy cruising gait, good overtaking punch suggest a bigger capacity engine, but this mighty mouse makes a good fist of it.
That’s partially because modern manufacture has made the car stronger and lighter than the Cruze.
It helps in fuel economy too. Holden claims 6.1litres/100km, though our test cycle returned a still impressive 7.4.
The Astra sedan is one of those cars that one just gets into and is immediately at home.
The seats are comfortably supportive, the ride a tad softer than expected, but the car stays well composed on the straights and bends. It’s no boy racer, but it runs fine in the city and on the open road.
The driver gets decent analog and digital instrumentation and there’s an easy to operate touchscreen; pedals are nicely spaced, visibility is excellent and the leather steering wheel has a good feel.
The car’s 11.9m turning circle is not the world’s best though.
I’m not a big fan of infotainment stuff in motor cars, believing they play a big part in diverting driver attention. So I didn’t even play around with the Astra’s system – especially not after seeing its 116 page booklet on how to work the thing.
Verdict: A stylish, spacious, comfy and capable car. Well made and easy to live with.
- The looks
- The ride
- Frugal fuel needs
- Big boot
- Good pricing
- Impressive spec in every model
- Big turning circle