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First look: Holden goes Astra diesel

Turbo-diesel duo: Holden will offer two oil-burning Astras from mid-year.

Holden flags the arrival of two turbo-diesel Astra hatches at the Melbourne show

17 Feb 2006

HOLDEN signalled its intention to add to Australia’s turbo-diesel passenger car momentum by exhibiting two diesel-powered AH Astras at last week's Melbourne motor show ahead of their mid-year release Down Under.

Almost indistinguishable from the Opel-sourced five-door hatches in Holden’s current range – with the exception of different 16-inch alloy wheel designs – the two new oil-burning Astras are both powered by Euro IV emissions-compliant 1.9-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines.

While the entry-level model delivers 88kW at 3500rpm and 280Nm from just 2000rpm and will be available exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission, the more potent version, offering 110kW at 4000rpm and 320Nm from the same 2000rpm, will be available only with a six-speed manual transmission.

Both Astra diesels comprise standard anti-lock brakes, stability control, twin front, front side and side curtain airbags, cruise control and a six-CD sound system. Fuel consumption and performance figures are unavailable.

Due here in the middle of the year, Holden has not yet revealed the asking price for the Belgian-built small car, but $25,990-plus is likely.

"There will be a price premium on the diesel but there will be a lot of content on it so it will still be good value," said Holden chief Denny Mooney, who was cautious about sales volumes.

"There’s still a perception out there that diesels are dirty and noisy ... but I might be surprised. I know that our product planners and many of our dealers are very optimistic ... but I’m a little more sceptical." Meanwhile, Holden considered displaying its VE Commodore, due for release in September, at this year’s Melbourne motor show.

But the idea was scuttled when the event was brought forward a month due to the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

Despite Holden’s diesel emphasis (with Astra) at the show, Holden boss Denny Mooney refused to divulge details on the expected Commodore oil-burner: "We’re doing development work on it and there is no firm on-sale date on it yet. We’ve been working on a diesel alternative for Commodore ... for a year-and-a-half now."

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