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Holden Astra Sedan: spacious and impressive

By year end Holden will have ceased local manufacture and become a full line importer – a huge change for the company and its dealer network. Importantly, its new fully imported range has to be near or best in class but also the company’s marketing message has got to be right. As their Canadian born Executive Director of Marketing, Mark Harland, said this week 52 percent of negatives levelled at Holden at the moment relate to its factory closure. The new Astra sedan I drove this week in all grades is a very impressive car. Built in Korea, very nicely finished, highly specified and very competitive with the top-selling Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3. With a spacious body several areas impress – especially ride and handling, also the direct feel of the electric power steering. Holden have incorporated torque vectoring into the suspension – this cleverly brakes the inside rear wheel to assist cornering and on very wet roads around Byron Bay it was most noticeable this week. This is just one high tech inclusion on this small bread and butter sedan which only a few years back would have been the reserve of a prestige model. Four grades in the new Holden Astra – LS, LS plus, LT and LTZ – all have 1.4-litre turbo engine linked to six-speed manual or auto – prices kicking off at $21,990 drive-away. My pick the LT auto at $27,990 drive-away – with 8-inch colour touch screen, 17-in alloys, sat nav, side blind spot alert, rear camera and front and rear parking sensors. I’m David Berthon

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