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Holden has widened the appeal of its award-winning Astra with the addition of a four-door sedan. The sedan joins the Astra hatchback with the same choice of City and CD equipment levels and is powered by the same 1.8 litre DOHC engine, with the option of automatic or manual transmission.
Pricing for the new sedans is the same as for Astra hatches; $20,990 for the City and $23,990 for the CD. Add another $1950 for automatic transmission. Other options include air conditioning for $1870 and a combined air conditioning/ABS/electronic traction control pack (CD only) for $2860.
On the safety front, both versions of the Astra come with driver and front passenger airbags, pyrotechnic front seat belt pre-tensioners, and a patented clutch pedal break-away system, and boast an advanced body design with special deformation zones and an occupant safety cell.
Other standard items include power steering, tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment, height adjustable driver's seat, six speaker sound system with speed dependent volume, remote control exterior mirrors and road speed sensitive intermittent wipers. There's also a multi-function display with time, date, outside temperature and audio settings, plus six cup holders, rear seat reading lamps and a split-level glovebox.
CD versions add cruise control, power windows, a single CD player, heated and power operated exterior mirrors, and 15 inch alloy wheels (four only).
Though not quite as stylish as the five-door hatch, the Astra sedan is a neat little sedan that displays a European flair in its appearance. While the City's interior trim colours compliment exterior paint colours, the CD interior combines black velour with black plastics; a combination which I found to be too dark and sombre.
Quality of finish looked good throughout in the CD test car and the fully galvanised body promises long-term protection against corrosion. Lifting the bonnet requires a fair amount of effort as it's heavy and not counter-balanced.
Inside, the Astra sedan provides plenty of leg room and good head room up front. Rear leg room is limited but good foot space under the front seats allows adults to fit reasonably well. Alternatively, the Astra sedan would be well suited to younger families comprising two adults and two children.
Front seat comfort is reasonable, but from a personal point of view, I would prefer a bit more lateral support in the shaping and slightly longer cushions for more thigh support.
As in many vehicles, the centre rear seating position is fairly uncomfortable, due to limited seat padding and floor hump intrusion. Surprisingly, although a centre rear lap-sash belt is provided, the rear seat is not equipped with head restraints.
Luggage space is good, with further capacity available by folding the 60/40 split rear seat. The enlarged area is not flat, as the cushion doesn't fold.
Though the Astra sedan is not fast in terms of acceleration times, its engine characteristics are such that it feels pleasantly responsive when called on to accelerate. As in most smaller cars, it's important to be in the right gear if best performance is to be expected.
The only time the engine disappointed was with the air conditioning operating, when there was a tendency to hesitate when accelerating from low speeds.
Another example of the Astra's European heritage is its capable handling and road holding. The sedan is secure over all types of road surfaces and its precise handling and steering contribute to a pleasant driving experience.
With the optional anti-lock system, the test Astra's four-wheel disc brakes provided confident and secure braking during testing. However, during emergency braking from 80 to 0 km/h there was moderate pedal "kickback".
The Holden Astra sedan is a welcome addition to the Astra model range as it complements the hatchbacks without sacrificing any of those models' desirable features. These include stylish looks, good build quality, pleasant driving characteristics, capable performance and handling, and a comprehensive array of safety and convenience equipment. The new Astra sedan is well priced to compete with its opposition and is a worthy contender for anyone considering the purchase of a small to medium sedan.
Test vehicle supplied by Holden Limited.
|Model||Astra TR CD|
|Price of vehicle tested||23,990|
Compliant ride and handling package
Comfort for centre rear occupant
|Country of manufacture||Germany|
|Warranty||3 years/100,000 kilometres|
$20,990 - City
|Number of cylinders||4|
|Engine size||1.8 L|
|Induction||Multipoint fuel injection|
|Claimed max power (kW)||85 kW @ 5600 rpm|
|Claimed max torque (Nm)||165 Nm @ 3600 rpm|
|Wheel size||15 "|
|Type||Power assisted rack and pinion|
|Turns to lock||3.2 m|
|Turning circle (measured)||10.6 m|
|Width (including mirrors)||1978 mm|
|Fuel capacity||52 litres|
|Max towed mass (trailer plus load)||1000 kg|
NRMA Theft Rating
|Points on scale 0 - 120 (high score is best)||62.5|
Acceleration - Test results
|50 - 80km/h||6.7 secs|
|60 - 100km/h||8.5 secs|
|0 - 80km/h||8.5 secs|
|0 - 100km/h||12.8 secs|
|Best recorded during testing||8.8 L/100km|
|Worst recorded during testing||10.4 L/100km|
|Average on test||8.8 L/100km|
|Distance to stop (from 80km/h)||34.4 metres|
|Interior noise at constant 80km/h||67 dB(A)|