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Future models - Holden - Astra

Frankfurt show: Holden to import new Astra five-door

Next step: At the moment Holden has just confirmed the five-door hatch (left) for Australia, but other variants, including the wagon are being considered.

Holden announces Astra five-door for Australia as part of new-model onslaught

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Holden logo15 Sep 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

GM HOLDEN has announced that the new-generation Astra will form a key part of its model line-up, arriving in Australian showrooms by the end of 2016.

The car-maker has confirmed that the five-door variant will be made available with a choice of a 1.4 and 1.6-litre turbocharged engines, and it will also feature the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity systems.

Holden has previously announced a massive product rollout that will see 24 new models launch by the end of this decade, and the Astra follows confirmation earlier this year of the new Spark micro-car and a pair of new SUVs further down the track.

The Australian-built Cruze is expected to be sold alongside the Astra until production of the ageing small car and the Commodore (and derivatives) ceases by the end of 2017.

The current-generation three-door Astra GTC and VXR hot hatch that arrived in April will continue to be available until replacements for the sportier variants enter production, which is likely to be later next year.

When the new Astra arrives here it is expected to be positioned as a sportier, more premium model than the Cruze, but Holden senior manager of product communications Kate Lonsdale told GoAuto that both cars can co-exist as they appeal to different buyers.

“These are very different cars,” she said. “Cruze is a sedan, and we have current Astra three-doors then we will have the (five-door) hatch version of next-generation product. From a product and futures point of view, one is quite sports orientated, one has the practicality of a sedan. Very different customers I think.” Ms Lonsdale also said the Astra wagon that makes its public debut in Frankfurt this week will also be looked at, but is not locked in.

“We will look at everything. We will look at what’s going to make a good, strong Holden portfolio going forward. We absolutely look at what’s available to us, but no announcements at this stage.” GM Holden chairman and managing director Mark Bernhard said the Astra points to the direction the company is taking its product portfolio, and highlighted the local engineering input.

“The all-new Astra is a stunning car and clearly signposts Holden’s future product strategy – bringing in the best cars from around the GM world for our customers,” he said.

“The Astra offers leading design, performance and technology, and is the latest vehicle to be confirmed as part of Holden’s new product onslaught that promises 24 new models by 2020.

“The five-door Astra is a perfect small car for Australians and I am excited to say that, following local engineering input to ensure its performance is optimised for our unique road conditions, Holden will be offering this car in late 2016 alongside the recently launched Astra GTC and VXR sports hatches.” Holden’s Australian engineering team played a part in the ride and handling optimisation of the new-generation Astra during its development to ensure it is well suited to Australian roads and conditions.

Holden director of vehicle performance Ian Butler said the local input, as well as new powertrains and chassis, should ensure the Astra appeals to Aussie buyers as it has done in the past.

“This car has been designed and engineered in Europe to the highest standards and with our chassis tuning input it will excel on Australian roads,” he said.

“The new engine line-up and new, lightweight architecture combine to deliver a refined yet engaging driving experience, maintaining the characteristics the Astra nameplate is famous for.” In terms of the powertrain choices, the Astra will be available with a 1.4-litre Ecotec direct-injection turbocharged engine producing 114kW/240Nm with fuel consumption sitting at 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres, according to Holden.

A more powerful 1.6-litre turbo-petrol unit pumping out 147kW/300Nm will power the sportier variants, but at this stage no diesels have been announced.

When the current Astra launched in Australia under the Opel banner in 2012 it was offered in three-door and five-door hatch guise and wagon with a choice of petrol and diesel engines.

It was priced higher than a number of perceived competitors under Opel, starting at $23,990 in base sedan guise, putting it in Volkswagen Golf territory at the time. After slow sales of all of its models, Opel pulled out of Australia just 12 months after it launched.

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