Holden Astra sedan 2017 review

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Talking points

  • Easy to drive and live with on a daily basis.
  • Smartly styling and well presented.
  • Pleasing balance of performance and fuel consumption.
  • Autonomous emergency braking not available.

Holden has added a four-door sedan to its all-new Astra range, to broaden the appeal generated by the five-door hatchback released last year. Traditionally hatches have a sportier image, while sedans tend to appeal to a slightly older demographic, so Holden has tried to make the sedan a touch more mature, with a greater focus on ride comfort and practical space.

Built on the same platform as the hatch, the sedan was designed in North America, developed in Europe and built in Korea, with Australian styling and engineering input, particularly in a re-tuned chassis and steering set-up which is well suited to our roads.

Competitively priced, the sedan range has four specification grades, with prices ranging from $20,490 (plus on-road costs) for the LS manual to $29,790 for the LTZ automatic. All are powered by a 1.4-litre turbo-charged petrol engine; the sportier 1.6-litre turbo engine used in the high-spec hatchback models is not available. The base LS sedan is the only model with the option of a manual transmission, otherwise it’s a six-speed automatic.   

All Astra sedans have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, with the likes of a rear-view camera and reversing sensors standard across the range. The higher-spec LT and LTZ models gain front parking assist, blind-spot warning, lane-keep assist, forward collision alert and advanced park assist. Unfortunately, autonomous emergency braking, which is standard on most Astra hatchbacks, is not available on the sedan.  

Holden’s MyLink infotainment and connectivity system, accessed through an eight-inch colour touch-screen, features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across the range. 

Although still classified as a small car, Astra sedan has the space and comfort to rival a medium-size car. With a slightly bigger body and longer wheelbase over the hatch, the sedan gains an extra 33 millimetres in rear legroom, making it one of the best in the class, while the boot capacity is almost 24 per cent greater. Split-fold rear seating adds versatility to the load space with an almost flat floor, while the child-seat anchorage points and ISOFIX are easy to access.

The interior of the top-spec LTZ we tested is well presented, with clear instrumentation and large, logically positioned switches, and it is evident how much the quality of Holden’s Korean-built models has improved in recent times.

Holden’s all-aluminium 1.4-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol engine delivers 110kW of power at 6500rpm and has 240Nm of torque available from 2000rpm to 4000rpm in the automatic versions. The official fuel economy figure for the auto is 6.1L/100km on 91-RON petrol. Driven mainly around the city and suburbs, our test car’s fuel consumption was a respectable 7.9L/100km.

Performance is surprisingly competent and well suited to everyday driving, with good response thanks to the turbo’s strong pulling power in the mid rev range and the well-matched, smooth-changing six-speed automatic transmission.  

The sedan’s ride is a little more compliant than the hatch and soaks up most bumps with ease, while the retuned suspension does not detract too much from the car’s handling ability. It still has the typically European feel with surefooted balance, high-speed stability and precise steering. We did, however, find the lane-keep assist a bit too aggressive at times and preferred it turned off. Having a space-saver spare wheel is much better than the compressor and tyre sealant kit found in some earlier Astra models but it is still not ideal.

Holden provides a basic three-year/100,000km warranty, with capped-price servicing scheduled every nine months or 10,000km.

Holden Astra LTZ sedan                 

Price: $29,790 plus on-road costs. Price range $20,490-$29,790. Premium paint $550.
Drivetrain:
1399cc turbo-petrol 4cyl engine, six-speed automatic. Front-wheel-drive. 110kW@6500rpm, 240Nm@2000-4000rpm. 7.9L/100km (RACV figure); 6.1L/100km (official figure). 91-RON petrol. 52-litre tank.
Wheels:
18-inch alloys. Space-saver spare.
Safety:
5-star ANCAP rating. ESC. Six airbags. Forward collision warning. Lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning. Blind-spot monitoring. Holden Eye forward-facing camera. Rear-view camera. Front and rear parking sensors. Auto high-beam assist. Rain-sensing wipers. Daytime running lights.
Features:
Eight-inch colour screen. Embedded satellite navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Digital radio. Advanced Park Assist. Heated front seats. Electric sunroof.
Towing:
1200kg (braked trailer).
Warranty:
Three years/100,000km.
Services:
Nine months/10,000km.

Also consider: Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic.

Written by Greg Hill
June 22, 2017