Astra Sportwagon review

The UK made Astra Sportwagon joins the Astra sedan, and the Polish-made hatch, in Holden’s new car launch assault.

The new NG Commodore, Arcadia SUV, and HSV’s Camaro will round out this year’s cavalcade. Until the NG Commodore is launched, heavy is the head of Astra, as it wears Holden’s passenger car crown alone.

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First, a few titbits about Astra: the sedan and wagon are sold as Cruze in other markets, and are different cars to the hatch.

Second: the wagon has only two trim levels, the LS+, and LT whereas the sedan has 4.

Third: the Astra sportwagon LT has almost the same spec as the top spec LTZ sedan cousin.

Confused? Me too.

Obviously, the product department had a particularly big night out before that morning meeting.

In fact, Astra is the collective name given to Holden’s small passenger car range. The Sedan/wagon shares little with the hatch apart from the name and some of the tech. They look quite clearly to be different cars from the outside.

Don’t be fooled by the conservative looks. Sportwagon is full of nifty kit. The front has complex headlights with inbuilt DTRLs (LED lights for daytime use).

There are 17” alloys, and LED rear lights. The rear hatch is electric, and has a kick-to-open/close function. Now I have the hang on if, it is invaluable.

However, the entire wagon section is where the designers went on holiday and left the rest of the committee to finish it off. The back is a bit of a mess, especially when viewed from the side.

The roof swoops down forming the rear pillar. The waist curves up to meet it, intersecting in a rather graceless car-crash of lines, trim, angles, and curves. It is 50 shades of wrong. Ignoring that for a moment, the tail taillights look too big for the car.

The whole thing looks like it is from the parts bin.

Now to happier matters: The smart entry/start system allows the driver to leave the keys secreted about their person. You can remotely open the windows, and start the car if you want to cool it down. Otherwise, leaving the fob in your pocket is best.

Each door handle has a rather classy looking chrome button which will both lock and unlock the doors if the system senses the key nearby. Opening the rear hatch won’t unlock the doors. That means no miscreants will jump in while you’re loading your boxing-day-specials into the boot.

Best of all, the car has walk-away locking, so after kicking the rear hatch down, just turn on your heel, and listen for the chirp as you walk away.

Holden says the hatch is the sports oriented car, and the sedan and wagon are the “luxury oriented” cars. Although the finishes and fabrics are OK, I wouldn’t call them luxurious.