Car Reviews

2017 Holden Astra Sedan Review

Alex Rae’s 2017 Holden Astra Sedan Review with pricing, specs, performance, ride and handling, infotainment, safety, verdict and score.

In a nutshell: A competent car that provides good reason to consider it over rivals, although it might be too vanilla for younger buyers.

2017 Holden Astra sedan Review

Pricing From $20,490+ORC Warranty three-years, 100,000 kilometres Safety 5-star ANCAP Engine 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol Power 110kw Torque 240Nm Transmission six-speed automatic or manual Dimensions 4665m (L); 1807mm (W); 1457mm (H) Boot Space 445 litres Spare Space Saver Weight 1283kg Thirst 6.1L/100km

AS HOLDEN WINDS UP local production and enters its new era of being an importer-only car brand in Australia, the company synonymous with meat pies and kangaroos has a hard pitch ahead.

Most of its answer to that problem will be seen when Australia’s first imported front wheel drive Commodore lands here, but in between Holden needs to get its current staple offerings like the Astra right. And it delivered a good product with the Astra hatch, which provides a competent ride alongside a range of economical to powerful engines. Although being from GM’s European, lineup that’s not too surprising.

Holden’s five-door Astra sedan, however, that effectively replaces the Cruze and competes against the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 and Hyundai Elantra, is a different story. Produced in South Korea and based on a soft riding North American chassis and with only one engine option, the team Down Under had some work ahead to get the thing right, which included extensive local testing and tuning.

So what’s it like? We’ve just finished driving the range over two days around the (very wet) north NSW coast and, unlike the hatch, it delivers some surprises.

What do I get in the Holden Astra sedan?

Available in LS, LS+, LT and LTZ, the Astra sedan offers standard features across all models such as an infotainment screen (7-inch, LS, LS+, and 8-inch LT, LTZ) with reverse camera, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and lifetime capped servicing. Read about the specification and pricing breakdown here.

All models feature a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with six-speed automatic except the base model LS which gets a six-speed manual standard or $2000 optional auto. The LS also misses out on some safety features the other models have, but is priced sharply from $20,490 (+ORCs).

The LS+ model gets better kit including forward collision alert and distance indicator, lane keep assist, auto high beam and leather steering wheel for $21,490 (+ORCs).

Moving up to the LT, the model receives standard inclusion such as 17-inch alloys, blind spot alert, 8-inch infotainment with sat nav and DAB+, rain sensing wipers and remote entry and keyless start for $25,790 (+ORCs).

Top spec LTZ has all the fruit available including 18-inch alloys, sunroof, heated leather seats and climate control from $29,790 (+ORCs).

Unlike the European based Astra hatchback, the sedan doesn’t feature AEB in North America and the feature isn’t included here either.

What’s the interior of the Holden Astra like?

Perhaps where costs have been cut most is inside. Some of the materials and touchpoints are made from hard plastics and aren’t as nice or well fitted as in the hatchback. But the seats, although tending towards firm, offered good support and didn’t become uncomfortable over hours of driving. The front seats also offer a good amount of movement along with tilt-and-reach steering wheel adjustment.

The cabin also has a generous sized feel inside, and the deep dash heightens the feeling of space. The longer wheelbase than the hatchback also shines, as the rear seat occupants get a good amount of legroom and there’s no quibbles for adults sitting in the outer seats. But the raked rear roofline compromises headspace and a six-foot tall frame is gets a little tight up top.

The boot offers 445 litres of space and it has practical dimensions for fitting in a couple of golf bags or lugging some suitcases. It also expands to offer longer cargo carrying space via the 60:40 fold down rear seats – not common among the segment.

What’s the Holden Astra’s infotainment like?

All models receive an infotainment system as standard, however the LT and LTZ have a nicer 8-inch unit over the 7-inch screen. All have the same sort of app layout and the capacitive touch works nicely on both. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard too, and improve infotainment capability and connectivity. LT and LTZ also get sat nav as standard which the other models don’t.

There’s one USB port below the infotainment unit in the centre console along with one aux port. There’s no USB (or climate vents) in the rear, but there is a 12v port for using a USB dongle.

What’s the Holden Astra Sedan like to drive?

All models are powered by the same 1.4-litre turbo petrol producing 110kW/240Nm and we tested both the auto and manual (only available in LS) transmissions.

Speaking with Holden engineers at the launch, we were told that the GM car the Astra sedan is based on is tuned to provide a vague, floaty ride for the sort of rough roads found around Detroit. Of course, this wouldn’t be received well here and so extensive tuning was performed at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground and on public roads.

The result? Across mixed surfaces, which included some very coarse roads, the Astra sedan provides a stable and competent ride without inferring much harshness. The ride is compliant across all surfaces thrown at us and, even in some very wet conditions, there was a good amount of composure and grip provided. The large 17-inch alloys and its thinner rubber were a bit harsher and noisier on rough surfaces, but still provide good comfort for the most part.

The ESC has been retuned by Holden Australia too, and it works in conjunction with torque vectoring to improve stability when cornering or when losing grip. Although it’s hard to gauge how effective these systems really are, we didn’t find any limits of grip and found the Astra sedan remained composed when avoiding a large pothole at speed.

But the Astra sedan is aimed at the older market, not sporty drivers – that’s what the hatchback is for – and where the sedan is going to excel is on longer drives, even touring the countryside. Around town, light steering that remains direct and confident makes negotiating turns easy. The automatic gearbox has also been reconfigured by the boffins at Holden to suit our conditions better and, although it’s not a rapid shifting ‘box, it shifts at the right time and kicks down appropriately on the highway when needing to overtake.

There’s no option for paddle shifters, so if you want to be shifting manually the manual transmission is the best option, although it is only available in the base spec. The engine also has ample torque for getting up to the speed limit quick enough. 

What about the Holden Astra Sedan’s safety features?

The Astra sedan has been awarded a 5-star ANCAP rating. There’s a good amount of safety as standard from the LS+ model up, but AEB is not available on any model. This is due to the lack of requirement and value put on the feature in North America, and it isn’t something that could be added here.

Added safety in other models includes: forward collision alert and distance indicator, lane keep assist, auto high beam, blind spot alert and rain sensing wipers. There’s two ISOFIX compatible seats in the back for babyseats.

So, what do we think about the Holden Astra sedan?

By locally tuning the Astra sedan, Holden has succeeded in producing a car suited to our roads. It’s not as dynamic or powerful as the Astra hatchback range, but it is more competitively priced and offers value. It also affords good cabin space and practical boot space that’s going to appeal to drivers looking to drive the car further than city streets. The lack of AEB is disappointing, but if Holden could have had its way it would of been here.

Editor's Rating

What's the interior like?
What's the infotainment system like?
What's it like on the road?
What about safety features?
Practical Motoring Says: The Astra sedan isn’t just a beefier version of the hatchback and stands on its feet as a different offering. Although not as tight a package as the smaller sibling, the sedan provides a refined ride and competitive packaging that’s better than the outgoing Cruze it replaces.

  • Rye an

    Put the Peugeot 1.2 in it.

Alex Rae

Alex Rae

Alex Rae grew up among some of the great stages of Targa Tasmania, an event that sparked his passion for all things mechanical. Currently living across Bass Strait in Melbourne, Alex has worked for the last decade in the automotive world as both a photographer and journalist, and is now a freelancer for various publications. When not driving for work Alex can be found tinkering in the shed on of one his project Zeds or planning his next gravel rally car.