Whether you’re shopping for your first car, or an upgrade, I would seriously urge you to consider the new Holden Astra, which goes on sale in Australia from December 1.
For me having a car is not just for convenience but rather more for lifestyle, which is why I was shocked at how impressed I was when I got to test drive the 2016 European Car of The Year at a recent media event in Canberra.
We went to try out this much-hyped car – the seventh-generation model bearing that nameplate to be sold in Australia – at a racetrack and were set the task of completing a course as fast as we could.
I’m no rally driver or speed demon, so I was pretty nervous. I also learned to drive in a manual, which only added to the anxiety levels as I got behind the wheel of this brand new automatic.
But I needn’t have worried; the Astra was so easy to drive and its steering and control made me feel like I could up the ante and add some more acceleration.
Also our personalised race-suits, courtesy of Holden, certainly got us into the rally mood.
The interior is sleek and stylish and even though the new model is considerably lighter than the older version, Holden certainly hasn’t compromised on space.
You still feel as if you have ample room inside the car; plenty for friends and luggage. But what I was most impressed with, was the state of the art technology features the car is packed with.
It has self-park technology, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert and active lane keep assist, automatic LED headlamps, and the most essential part for all those long journeys you want to make, Apple CarPlay!
This car really is kitted out with all the essential things you would need for those young at heart who live an urban life and love to travel.
Its 7/8 inch touch-screen means you can connect you iPhone or android, set your destination on its built-in satnav and simply sit back and drive. Also the car has a handy cup holder that can hold a 1.5-litre bottle of water, perfect for long journeys.
Imagine driving down a long road and there’s nothing but scenery and blue skies around you, you simply turn on the cruise control and take your foot off the pedal
Its built-in collision sensor also means that the car will automatically slow down or stop if it detects an object in front of the car to provide maximum safety and minimal risk.
One of the downsides of doing a lot of travelling in a car is that there will be moments when your concentration may just slip. But Holden has integrated an amazing technology that allows the car to sense when you are slipping out of your lane and merging onto the wrong side.
On the safety of the track I tried out this feature for myself and to my amazement the car’s wheel actually nudged us back over to the correct side by detecting that I had crossed over the road lines.
How about driving at night? Personally, I really don’t enjoy it, as it’s not very relaxing because you can’t see everything.
But when driving the Astra I felt much more at ease because of its auto LED headlamps which adjust for perfect visibility. The only other cars that have this type of technology are expensive cars like Audi.
The IntelliLux LED Matrix headlamps adjust length and distribution of the light beams by working with the Holden Astra Eye front camera. It provides the most effective visibility related to road conditions making it a much clearer drive, especially at night.
Its front and back assist cameras and blind spot alert on the 1.6L model also make it easy to navigate and park in tight spaces which is perfect for when you are in the city.
The assisted parking is excellent, when I tried it, I lined up the car, took my hands off the wheel and the car smoothly reversed me into a space I probably wouldn’t have managed on my first go. Perfect for those tight city spots.
The Astra really has all the best safety features for a car that you can take anywhere. It’s spacious and sleek and very easy and enjoyable to drive.
Perfect for a road trip, or even a weekend camping, this car can perform on all grounds and is a match made in heaven for those who like to have a travel-filled lifestyle.
Prices for the new Holden Astra start at as little as $21,990 drive away and will be available from December this year.
Photo credits: Esteban La Tessa