HOME PAGE

Holden Astra CDX
road test


Top Marks For The Class Leader!


When a car is as popular as the Holden Astra it isn't unreasonable to expect a lot from the car. In this respect the new AH series Astra delivers the goods. From the very first drive it is quite apparent that the new model Astra is a much better car than the previous model.

The last model still continues to be sold alongside the new model and it (the previous model) is now known as the Holden Astra Classic. It continues to battle against the 'older generation' conventional small cars such as Corolla, Lancer and Pulsar.

For this report though, we look at the new AH series Astra which arrived on the Australian market last October.

The subject car is the Astra CDX hatchback fitted with the standard 5-speed manual transmission.

The colour of the car was Papyrus Gold, one of the six optional metallic colour choices. Oddly, the only standard colour on offer is Casablanca White. Given the fact that not everyone is willing to pay extra for an optional colour, the limiting of standard colours to just white is a brave move on the part of Holden. I'd like to see the colour choices expanded. The Astra is a good seller. In my view there is room to expand the colour range to include an additional two standard colours. My suggestions would be a red (because a lot of people like red cars) and yellow (because some people like a bright colour). Perhaps at model update time we may see some progress in this area.

The new Astra is an attractive looking car and the styling suits the Papyrus Gold, just as it does the six other colours. Sure the styling has definite edges which make it stand out from the cars offered by the many competitors in this market segment. But the chiselled beltline and rear bumper provide some 'character' to the styling, despite the possibility that it may not appeal to everyone. The stylish 'C' pillar and the lightly bulged wheel arches provide a visual link to the very successful previous model Astra.

On the road, the new model clearly demonstrates improvements in steering and handling. In these two areas, the new AH series reveals excellent manners. These improvements have make a good car an excellent car. As such, the new Astra deserves its current status as the top seller in its class. The noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) factor is well controlled in the new Astra, too. This puts the Astra at the top of the market segment in my view. The European designers and engineers have done an excellent job. The new Astra is a rewarding drive. Quite satisfying in every respect. The gearbox and clutch are both easy and well suited to the package as a whole. And it performs well, too. The 1.8 litre DOHC Ecotec engine provides the right amount of power and very suitable economy. Holden tests (using ADR81/01 test standards) indicate the Astra manual will use 7.8 litres of petrol per 100 kms.


Holden Astra CDX - AH series 
at South Perth WA

Holden Astra CDX - AH series
Location: South Perth WA

Click the image for a larger view

To see more images, click here.


Holden Astra CDX - AH series 
at Geraldton WA

Holden Astra CDX - AH series
Location: Geraldton WA

Click the image for a larger view

To see more images, click here.

For this test, the Next Car team was fortunate to have regional Western Australia as our playground. Commencing in Perth, we headed for Geraldton and Mingenew, via Gingin, the Nambung National Park (The Pinnacles), Cervantes and Jurien. In total, we covered a little over 1,000 kms in our 4 days with the car. Not only was the car an enjoyable experience, so too was the environment. Be sure to check some of the very good scenery in our photographic page. Western Australia was certainly an attractive backdrop for our photography (again). See our Astra images here.

The CDX is the mid-range Astra hatch. It slots in right between the CD and the CDXi. The price of a CDX hatch is $25,490 plus the traditional add-ons. Automatic transmission is an option, priced at $2,000. Metallic paint is optional and its priced at $300.

Standard equipment for the Astra CDX includes airbags for front seat occupants, driver and front passenger side impact airbags. air conditioning, power steering, alloy wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes, leather-wrap steering wheel, cruise control, graphic information display unit which includes a trip computer, Blaupunkt 6-disc in-dash CD player, 7 speakers, velour trim, power windows and 60/40 foldable rear seat back. The CDX is well equipped!

Holden Astra CDX - AH series 
Cervantes WA

Holden Astra CDX - AH series
Location: Cervantes WA

Click the image for a larger view

To see more images, click here.

Other models in the Astra hatchback range include the base model CD and the top of the range CDXi. In a couple of months, the Astra range will be expanded when the coupe and wagon versions arrive on the Australian market.

The Astra continues to be successful for Holden. And the success is well deserved. The new model is decidedly better than the previous model, which in itself was a good car. Driving the new AH series provides satisfaction with every kilometre. The build quality is good and the pricing structure is right on the money.

Quite frankly, the new Astra deserves top marks. It is the class leader in my view!

Stephen Walker
22nd June, 2005

E-mail the author



HOME PAGE


Click the logo for our home page


Receive Australian & International automotive news (and more) by e-mail,
SUBSCRIBE to our free newsletter here
by, simply, sending a blank e-mail.

Next Car Pty Ltd   (ABN 47106248033)
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.