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Holden Astra VXR road test

by Chris "Road Ramblings" Goodsell

3rd November, 2015

Home > Road Tests > Holden


  • Long distance test: 2,800+ kms
  • This hot hatch is fun!

The humble Holden Astra has joined the performance market in a big way with the VXR. It can most definitely play ball with competitors including the Volkswagen Golf GTI,Ford Focus ST and Subaru WRX.

The car is basically the same vehicle asthe Opel Astra OPC previously on sale in Australia, but with sharper pricing and more extras.

Twenty-inch alloys are standard as are high grip low profile tyres. A DAB+ digital radio tuner is now included and the Bluetooth system now has both phone and audio integration.

The 2 litre turbo charged four cylinder motor puts out an impressive 206Kw and 400Nm of torque. This will catapult the Astra to 100km/h in under six seconds.

The VXR drives the front wheels via a 6 speed close ratio manual gearbox and limited slip diff. The Astra sits atop a sportsperformance chassis.

Enough tech talk, what about driveability? This is a driver's car! On real roads, not motorways it is exhilarating. Engage Sport mode and the suspension stiffens. Press the VXR button and engine response sharpens up and full boost is obtained from the turbo. Just to add effect the instrument back lighting turns red.

The premium Brembo discs on the front wheels assure you of a rapid stop should the need arise.

I road tested the car for almost 2,900kms from Sydney to Melbourne, back to the NSW mid-north coast then returning to Sydney.

It's docile in city traffic, handles the motorways with ease but hides its wolf in sheep's clothing identity on these types of roads. Getting onto the twisty stuff sees the VXR come into its own. Great handling, and stability and fun, fun, fun.

The heated sport seats are very comfortable and supportive; great for long distance and sports driving. Handling is basically neutral through all road conditions

The Astra VXR has a range of safety equipment and electronic gizmos. It rates 5 stars by EURONCAP and ANCAP (33.35 out of 37 points)

Under fierce acceleration the VXR's front wheels claw for traction. I can see a short and expensive life for the soft compound low profile tyres. The car would balance out acceleration and tyre wear infour wheel drive configuration if such ever became an option. The drawback of AWD, of course, is additional cost and weight.

The Astra VXR isn't perfect. I found both the SatNav (non touch screen) and climate controlled air conditioning fiddly at best and annoying at worst. The smaller ancillary gauges (fuel & temperature) are hard to read in sunlight. But that was about the full extent of my complaints and suggestions.

The car was a pleasure to drivewith a high fun factor tossed in. From $39,990* plus options and ORC - the drive-away price is likely to be a little under $45,000 including prestige paint ($550*) and the on-road costs (approx $4,297). It is good value in today's market where many of its competitors breach $50k. This hot hatch is all about fun driving.

My rating for the Holden Astra VXR is 8 out 10.


NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications.


E&OE


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General Motors News ..... here
More stories from Road Ramblings ..... here

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