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The Astra returns with a new hatch and wagon range to tempt small car buyers

3 Aug 2012

THE Opel Astra returns a well-known badge to the Australian market, this time directly under the guidance of its German originator instead of Holden.

One generation on from the last Astra sold by Holden until 2009, the latest model comes in three body shapes – five-door hatch, three-door GTC and Sports Tourer wagon.

An all-turbocharged four-cylinder engine line-up – two petrol and one diesel – are on offer, along with a choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

Pitched at rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf, Peugeot 308, Ford Focus and Honda Civic, the Astra is expected to be Opel’s top seller in its foray into Australia.

The question is, does it have what it takes to become more than curiosity value in the huge Australian small-car market?
Model release date: 1 September 2012 to 1 August 2013

Previous model

Holden AH Astra Series II

Released: April 2007
Ended: June 2009
Family Tree: Astra

THE last hurrah for Astra under its Holden badges came in 2007 when the small car was given a makeover for the last two years of its Holden tenure.

A facelift that included more sprightly engines along with minor cosmetic changes including a new grille, front bumper, lower air intake and headlight surrounds, as well as an upgrade in the trim materials used.

Meanwhile, a new non-turbo SRI hatchback model was introduced, using a 110kW/210Nm 2.2-litre direct-injection petrol four-cylinder engine. Gearbox choices were a four-speed auto or six-speed manual.

This engine also powered the AH Astra TwinTop, Holden’s four-seater retractable hardtop convertible answer to the Peugeot 307 CC, Renault Megane CC and Ford Focus Convertible. It replaced the popular TS Astra Convertible.

And then, in 2009, it was all over for Astra in Holden dealerships with the switch to the Korean-made, Chevrolet-based Cruze small car.

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