Powered by

2017 Holden Astra Sedan Review: First Drive

4 years ago

Good points

  • Sharp prices, strong value
  • Great ride-handling balance
  • Class-leading, peppy 1.4 turbo

Needs work

  • No AEB available at all
  • Misses hatch's great 1.6 turbo
  • LTZ wheels deteriorate the ride

Holden is a brand in transition. This Australian icon – think football, meat pies and Holden cars – has been something of a General Motors oddity in recent years. In the same showroom, you’ll find impressive locally-built models like the Commodore alongside fairly forgettable Asian models sourced from GM’s Korean arm and the odd Euro-built rebadged Opel, including the accomplished new Astra hatch. Mixed showroom, mixed reputation – but even as Holden has solidified arrangements for new European-built Astra and Commodore models, the product mix is going to keep changing. Local production shuts down in October and GM recently sold its European operations to Peugeot – so it’s really only the Korean plant that looks stable. So it’s appropriate that the newest car to wear the lion badge is the 2017 Holden Astra sedan – badged like the Euro hatch but built in South Korea, the four-door Astra needs to be the car to change perceptions that a Korean Holden means a subpar Holden.

Rebuilding faith in the Korean product is all part of a plan to re-establish Holden’s image in Australia – from local icon to full-line importer. It won’t be easy – especially with new European confusion that might see the new Astra and Commodore orphaned once Peugeot take over – but the backbone of the effort is Holden’s commitment to launch 24 new models by 2020. That’s a plan the brand recently affirmed, and the Astra sedan is one of those twenty-four.

2017 Holden Astra LTZ Sedan Side Profile – Chasing Cars

It’s been over a decade since Holden last sold an Astra sedan – but that car, the ‘TS’ Astra that Opel built for Holden from 1998–2005 was highly successful. Opel no longer make a four-door Astra – hence why Holden had to look to GM Korea, who build a booted version on the hatch’s underpinnings. It’s supplied to the Americans as the Chevrolet Cruze. But the car is far from a reborn Cruze – thankfully, it’s far superior.

The new Astra sedan is equipped and priced attractively, and it arrives $1,000 cheaper than the Euro hatch, opening at $20,490 for a base LS with a manual. Standard inclusions look good: alloys, a 7-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and automatic headlights mean the Astra is generous compared to a Toyota Corolla, or Mazda 3. The Astra’s standard 1.4-litre turbo also makes those rivals look fairly antique: the Holden feels quiet, sporty and polished.

Only the lack of autonomous emergency braking across the entire sedan lineup is a black mark in 2017 against a feature set that is otherwise hard to fault. Move up the range, though, and luxury inclusions like larger wheels, a sunroof, lane keep assist and forward collision warning fill out the Astra a little further.

On our first drive of the Astra sedan in northern New South Wales, we were keen to see whether the Astra sedan could hold a candle to the more expensively-built European hatch version. On first impressions, it can: the sedan is a good addition to the Holden lineup that should be a win with buyers.

2017 Holden Astra LTZ Sedan Front Driving – Chasing Cars

Key specs (as tested)

Engine
Capacity
1.4 litres
Cylinders
4
Induction
Single turbocharger
Power
110kW at 6,500rpm
Torque
240Nm at 2,000–4,000rpm
Configuration
Torque converter
Power to weight ratio
85.6kW / tonne
Fuel
Fuel type
Petrol
Fuel capacity
48 litres
Consumption
6.1L/100km
Average Range
787 kilometres
Drivetrain
Transmission
Automatic
Drivetrain
Front wheel drive
Engine configuration
In-line
Gears
6
Dimensions
Length
4.67 metres
Width
1.81 metres
Height
1.46 metres
Unoccupied weight
1,285 kilograms
Cargo space seats up
445 litres
Cargo seats down
Not listed

About Chasing cars

Chasing Cars reviews are 100% independent.

Because we are powered by Budget Direct Insurance, we don’t receive advertising or sales revenue from car manufacturers.

We’re truly independent – giving you Australia’s best car reviews.

Terms and conditions

The estimate provided does not take into account your personal circumstances but is intended to give a general indication of the cost of insurance, in order to obtain a complete quote, please visit www.budgetdirect.com.au. Estimate includes 15%^ online discount.
^Conditions Apply

Budget Direct Insurance arranged by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd ACN 003 617 909(AGS) AFSL 241 411, for and on behalf of the insurer, Auto & General Insurance Company Limited(ABN 42 111 586 353, AFSL 285 571).Because we don’t know your financial needs, we can’t advise you if this insurance will suit you. You should consider your needs and the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision to buy insurance. Terms and conditions apply.

Indicative quote based on assumptions including postcode , 40 year old male with no offences, licence suspensions or claims in the last 5 years, a NCD Rating 1 and no younger drivers listed. White car, driven up to 10,000kms a year, unfinanced, with no modifications, factory options and/or non-standard accessories, private use only and garaged at night.

^Online Discounts Terms & Conditions
1. Discounts apply to the premium paid for a new Budget Direct Gold Comprehensive Car Insurance, Third Party Property Only or Third Party Property, Fire & Theft Insurance policy initiated online on or after 29 March 2017. Discounts do not apply to optional Roadside Assistance.
2. Discounts do not apply to any renewal offer of insurance.
3. Discounts only apply to the insurance portion of the premium. Discounts are applied before government charges, taxes, levies and fees, including instalment processing fees (as applicable). The full extent of discounts may therefore be impacted.
4. We reserve the right to change the offer without notice.