Holden: 2015 Astra VXR review

October 6th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

With the V8 Commodore being phased out and Ford bringing a very capable hot hatch (the Focus ST) to the market, Holden needed to launch a car that gives you a temporary facelift when mashing the accelerator to the pedal into the carpet. Of course, the public now wants either an SUV or a small hatch; large sedans are (unfortunately) not so popular and therefore Holden has appropriated the Opel Astra from Europe. Continue reading “Holden: 2015 Astra VXR review” »

Holden: 2015 Astra GTC Sport review

September 28th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

From the back it’s got a bit of Alfa Brera about it. From the side the long front overhang and short rear overhang give it a muscular, long look – much longer than it actually is. The Astra is a car that has some presence, managing to pack some particularly alluring lines into a car that’s conveniently sized for the city. Continue reading “Holden: 2015 Astra GTC Sport review” »

European-sourced Holden’s on their way

November 21st, 2014 by Richard Edwards

While the debate rages as to what will replace the Commodore as Holden’s large car come 2018 – there are new lion-badged options coming far sooner that deserve a look – and may provide clues in themselves.

The company announced earlier this year the return of European sourced models to its line up – the Cascada cabriolet, Astra GTC hatch/coupe and the large sedan Insignia VXR. Continue reading “European-sourced Holden’s on their way” »

Opel Astra OPC hot hatch debuts in Europe

November 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Opel has unveiled its new Astra OPC known as the Vauxhall VXR in some markets. OPC stands for Opel Performance Centre and is the Euro brand’s in-house tuning division so this is the hottest Astra in the range.

The performance hatch is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine producing a huge 206 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque. These figures make it the most powerful Astra ever built and allow it a top speed of 250 km/h.

The large dose of power is sent exclusively to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. To help the hot hatch put that grunt to ground there’s a mechanical limited-slip differential on the front axle. The front suspension is a version of Opel’s ‘High Performance Strut’ suspension package and the car also comes with Opel’s adaptive suspension system FlexRide which includes a sports setting.

Visually the VXR is distinguished over its lesser kin by an aggressive body kit that includes aerodynamic front and rear bumpers, deep side skirting and a hatch spoiler. There’s also integrated dual exhaust outlets and XL-size alloy rims.  Continue reading “Opel Astra OPC hot hatch debuts in Europe” »

HSV to use Cruze platform for 4-cylinder high performance model

September 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Holden Special Vehicles over the ditch has recently confirmed that it will be adding a 4-cylinder turbocharged model to join the beefy V8s in its range.

After discontinuing the Astra-based VXR, HSV has no models smaller than the Commodore and has decided to develop the Holden Cruze platform for much greater performance.

HSV’s big cheese Phil Harding confirmed that the company was investigating adding a performance-tuned Cruze to its line-up, but he wouldn’t offer any solid technical details on the forthcoming model.

Rumours are that HSV’s Cruze will be based on the locally-built model that’s set to enter production at Holden’s South Australian plant in 2010.

What isn’t known is if HSV’s small car offering will be based on the sedan or hatchback version of the Cruze (both of which will be built in Australia), but the sedan’s greater structural rigidity may see it go ahead. The hatchback (pictured in Chevrolet form), however, may look sharper and be more direct replacement for the now-discontinued Astra VXR.

In terms of engine and power there’s no official word yet but HSV is likely to draw from one of GM’s new breed of small-displacement direct-injection turbocharged engines, ranging from a 104kW 1.4-litre to a 200kW 2.0-litre. The Delta-platformed Astra VXR utilises a turbocharged 2.0 litre inline four developing 177kW, so there’s plenty of potential for decent power.

Suspension will be modified to improve handling, but HSV could stay with the Cruze’s rear beam axle set-up or shift to the Euro-market Astra’s independent rear suspension.

Styling will naturally be injected with more excitement for HSV’s Cruze, with new bumpers, larger wheels and body kits making it stand out.

A launch date hasn’t been announced, but with Australian production of the Holden Cruze scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2010, HSV’s small car may make an appearance mid to late next year.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the HSV VXR.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Holden Cruze Sedan.

Holden Astra

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

New Holden Astra commercial directed by Gerard Lambkin and Mark Toia

2009 Opel Astra

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The new Opel Astra will premiere on September 17 in Frankfurt at the IAA.

2010 Opel Astra revealed before Frankfurt debut

May 14th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Opel Astra fq

Financially troubled carmaker Opel has just released details of its upcoming next-generation 2010 Astra before its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

The 2010 Astra’s design is inspired by the larger Opel Insignia, it shows off all-new sheet metal that takes cues from its big brother and packages it into a smaller, more fluid shape. The fascia, headlamps and back-end reflect Opel’s new design direction, along with the sculpted sides and raked-back windscreen.

The new Astra has a wheelbase that stretches 2.8 inches longer than the outgoing model. The “wing and blade” design language employed on the exterior carries through to the interior, and joins ergonomic seats and the new Opel Eye front camera system, which can apparently recognise road signs and warns drivers if they veer out of their lane.

There will be a total of eight different engines available, including four CDTI common-rail diesels with displacements ranging from 1.3- to 2.0-litres and outputs of between 95 and 160 hp. Another four gas-powered units, with displacements between 1.4- and 1.6-litres, dish out between 100 and 180 hp along with a new turbocharged 1.4-litre that replaces the outgoing naturally aspirated 1.8-litre and puts out 140 hp and 14% more torque, while lowering fuel consumption.

The wraps officially come off the five-door Astra later this year, while a four-door sedan, three-door hatch and a two-mode hybrid variant are expected to debut in 2010. Global sales should begin towards the end of 2009, and hopefully we will see the new 2010 Astra down here in NZ next year with a Holden badge whacked on the front.

Page 1 of 212