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Holden Astra sedan gets local tuning

Prove it: The Chevrolet Cruze-based Holden Astra sedan has undergone extensive testing at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground.

Australian engineering input goes into forthcoming Holden Astra sedan

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Holden logo3 Mar 2017

By ROBBIE WALLIS

HOLDEN’S upcoming Astra sedan has undergone extensive local engineering ahead of its arrival in Australian showrooms mid-year, where it will undercut the hatch on price which currently starts from $21,490 plus on-road costs.

The Korean-built, re-badged Chevrolet Cruze, which is built on the same D2XX architecture as the Opel-based Astra sedan, has undergone more than 20,000km of testing at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground.

Holden lead dynamics engineer Rob Trubiani said Holden has focussed on adapting the Astra sedan for Australian conditions.

“We’ve developed a unique steering tune for Astra which gives it a more balanced and responsive feel and, ultimately, adds to the drivers’ confidence in the car,” he said.

“We also tuned the car’s suspension dampers and chassis controls to make sure Astra feels safe and comfortable on long journeys, but inspiring to drive through the corners.” Holden product communications manager Mark Flintoft revealed that when it does arrive around May or June, the sedan would undercut the hatch in price, making it the most affordable Astra variant.

“The hatch will be the more expensive of the two, so the hatch is the more premium offering, the sedan offers a lower entry point,” he said.

“Pricing hasn’t been finalised yet, but the target is to be lower.” The sedan will be offered exclusively with a 110kW/245Nm 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine from the base-level R hatch, eschewing the more powerful 1.6-litre unit in the higher-specced hatch variants.

“We see the sedan as more of a comfort/luxury focus, I guess loosely it will (mirror the specification of the hatch range) but not necessarily the same nomenclature,” Mr Flintoft said.

He added that while the company was not discussing sales projections, he expected the hatch would be the bigger-selling body style.

Holden announced the decision to re-badge the Cruze as the Astra sedan at the Detroit motor show in January, after dropping the previous-gen Cruze from the local line-up in October when production of that model ended at the Elizabeth, South Australia factory.

The new architecture and design has resulted in weight savings of up to 120kg according to Holden, part of its ‘efficient fundamentals’ design mantra.

The sedan has now concluded testing at Lang Lang, and will now be trialled on Melbourne roads in the months leading up to its release.

Mr Flintoft said he was hopeful of a May release date, but said it could push out to June if testing takes longer than anticipated.

More information including pricing and specification will be revealed closer to its release date.

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