AN ALL-NEW Astra five-door hatchback from GM is coming to Australia, and sooner than you might think.
Coinciding with the global reveal of the new Astra today at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, Holden confirmed the car will reach Aussie showrooms in late 2016.
It will feature two new-generation engines – an all-aluminium 1.4-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol four with 114kW/240Nm, and a 1.6-litre version with 147kW/300Nm.
In contrast, the much-heavier Cruze’s equivalent engines produce 103kW/200Nm (1.4T) and 132kW/230Nm (1.6T).
Holden says the 1.4-litre version of the new Astra is capable of combined-cycle economy of 5.6L/100km, thanks not only to its more efficient new-gen powertrain but also to weight-saving measures that see Astra lose up to 130kg.
It should drive well too, given the involvement from Holden’s own engineering team during Astra’s global development.
“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,” said Holden director of vehicle performance Ian Butler.
While the new-generation Astra is physically smaller and substantially lighter than its predecessor – a car we saw briefly in Australia, badged as an Opel, from 2012 to 2013 – it offers greater interior space, alluding to smarter packaging.
And it will be on its game for connectivity. Expect Apple Car Play, Android Auto, digital radio, an advanced colour touchscreen and up-to-date smartphone integration to feature in all Astra variants.
While the five-door version is guaranteed, Holden is yet to confirm whether the Sports Tourer wagon variant will also make it to Australia.
Given the Commodore’s untimely demise expected in late 2017, and the need for the Astra nameplate to carry the volume load for Holden, there’s a strong chance the handsome wagon will follow.
So where does that leave the Aussie-built Cruze? Pretty much dead in the water come late 2016, though there’s a chance Holden may continue production of entry-level 1.8-litre versions into 2017 – its final year of manufacturing in this country.
What appears certain is that Holden’s ties with its long-time European bed partner are set to strengthen. Holden is promising to deliver 24 new models over the next five years. In General Motors CEO Mary Barra’s own words, its chance of regaining lost market share is based on forming “a strong relationship with Opel”.