Holden launches Astra sedan
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Holden replaces Cruze models with Astra sedan
Holden has revealed the next phase of its small car strategy which will bring an Astra sedan to the New Zealand market from mid-2017.
The four-door Astra will follow the five-door hatchback models set to launch in local Holden showrooms in the next few weeks.
It’s a move that will see the Cruze nameplate sidelined and is another example of Holden’s global product sourcing as it brings Australian manufacturing operations to a close later this year.
The previous generation Cruze hatchback and sedan models had been built at the Elizabeth plant in Adelaide. The new sedan will be sourced from South Korea and sell alongside the Astra hatch which is built at Gliwice in Poland.
The global theme actually extends further as the Astra sedan is based on the new Chevrolet Cruze sold in North America. Holden will be the only GM brand to offer both the Opel-based hatch and Chevrolet-based sedan variants in its line-up.
Ditching the Cruze name is a marketing decision. Holden feels the examples of the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 using the same naming on hatch and sedan models is a more effective approach in this market segment than the alternative of having two nameplates — in the way Hyundai has i30 hatch and Elantra sedan models and Volkswagen differentiates hatch and sedan models as Golf and Jetta.
Both the hatch and sedan are built on the latest evolution of the Delta 2 vehicle platform developed at GM Europe’s German headquarters in Russelsheim. Among the benefits of the Delta 2 architecture is a weight saving in the region of 120kg compared to the previous Cruze sedan.
The Astra sedan has received some bespoke styling input from the GM Australia design team, with a front grille and fascia treatment to give the Astra range a more cohesive appearance.
‘‘Sharing the same architecture as the Astra hatch, the new Astra Sedan assumes a rational, sophisticated persona to expand on the appeal of the sports styled hatch,’’ said Richard Ferlazzo, Director of GM Australia Design.
‘‘Our Australian designers have styled a unique Holden face with exclusive new front fascia and grille, closely aligning with the next generation Commodore to give a more cohesive look to not Astra, but to the wider Holden product range,’’ Mr Ferlazzo said.
The Astra sedan has also received Australian engineering input with its suspension tune and calibration of electric power steering, stability control electronics, torque vectoring and trailer sway control carried out by Holden engineers at the Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria.
While the new Astra hatch has a clear sporting focus – in particular the 1.6-litre RS and RS-V models – the Astra sedan takes a more conservative position with the emphasis on comfort and space.
Using the technical specifications for North America’s Chevrolet Cruze version as a guide, the Astra sedan will gain 38mm in its wheelbase compared to its hatchback sibling to provide additional rear passenger legroom. The increase in overall length is about 280mm resulting in improved luggage capacity.
The Astra sedan range will offer entry level LS, mid-grade LT and flagship LT-Z models powered by the 1.4-litre ECOTEC direct injection turbocharged engine delivering the same performance as the Astra R hatch with 110kW output from 5000-5600rpm.
Peak torque is 245Nm from 2000-4000rpm when paired with the six-speed manual transmission and 240Nm from 2400-4800rpm for the six-speed auto version.
Specification content is expected to largely duplicate the three-tier Astra hatch line-up with 7.0-inch and 8.0-inch MyLink screen options depending on model.
Standard equipment on Astra sedan will include rear park assist and a reversing camera while the standard safety package includes six airbags. The LT and LT-Z models will offer an automated park function and the Holden Eye driver assist system with Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Alert and Forward Distance Indicator along with rain sensor wipers, blind spot monitoring and front park assist.
‘‘Astra’s luxurious interior is complemented by advanced driver and connectivity technology in addition to progressive exterior styling which, when you add to the hatch variant, gives Holden a strong line-up in the small-car segment,’’ said Marinos Panayiotou, Holden’s Director — Planning and Programme Management.
With the introduction of the new sedan the Holden Astra line-up will comprise three hatchback models, three sedans and the high performance VXR coupe model which is carried over from the previous generation.
One new car Holden has yet to confirm Australasian plans for is the Astra Sports Tourer (station wagon) that was launched in Europe in Opel and Vauxhall versions in March 2016.