Holden Astra AH Sri 2007 Car Reviews NRMA Motoring & Services

14 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Holden Astra AH Sri 2007 Car Reviews NRMA Motoring & Services
Suzuki AH 50

Holden Astra AH Sri Car Review

The Holden Astra range has had a mid-life makeover with the big news being the new range of four cylinder petrol engines.

The Astra line-up had already been bolstered with the introduction in mid 2006 of a new 1.9 litre turbo diesel engine, plus the 2 litre SRi Turbo and now the mainstream models receive a boost in the form of a new 1.8 litre and 2.2 litre four.

Astras with the 1.8 litre engine gain an impressive 11kW of power now producing 103kW with five extra Nm of torque.

The SRi tested has the new 2.2 litre engine with direct fuel injection. It’s from GM’s European Opel operation which has had additional development work done in Australia by Holden Engineers to suit Aust driving conditions.

Value for money

The good news for consumers is that even with the upgrade, prices for CD and CDX models stay the same. The Astra SRi manual tested is $29,990; automatic versions are an additional $2,000. Metallic paint is a $360 option

Holden have Astra’s with a starting price of $21,990 up to the range topping Astra Twin Top, which retails for $47,990. The SRi’s specification level lines it up against the likes of the Mazda SP23 and the Ford Focus Zetec five door hatchback – both similarly priced, impressive vehicles.

For the $29,990 price tag you get a swag of features to compliment the new engine. A sports chassis pack that includes 17 inch alloy wheels, lower suspension settings and a rear roof spoiler underpin the sports theme. To keep things in shape Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and ABS brakes are standard.

Dual front airbags, side, and side curtain airbags are part of the standard safety package.

Airconditioning, (semi-automatic) power steering, power windows with express up/down for the front windows, AM/FM radio with single disc in-dash CD player, and leather faced seats that are also heated are some of the key features on the SRi.

Design function

Space practicality

Body dimensions for the SRi haven’t altered so there’s no internal space change compared to previous models. Occupant space for driver and front seat passengers is generous, although taller drivers may find the seat travel limiting. I’m not that tall and found that I needed the seat all the way back to be comfortable.

The glove box is a decent size and there is additional storage by way of door pockets plus a couple of shallow binnacles in the centre console.

A full-size spare on a steel rim sits under the floor in the luggage area. The tailgate aperture tapers and ends up being quite narrow – it may make loading/unloading of larger items that little bit harder.

Additional bolstering on the base and backrest give the leather faced front seats that sporty look. They are firm and supportive, and hold you securely when cornering. The steering wheel is adjustable for tilt and reach.

The rear seats felt softer than the front – comfort was OK but taller passengers may find leg room to be tight, especially on longer trips.

Ergonomics

European style ‘one touch’ indicators on the RHS of the wheel are a nice feature. The interior has been revised for the new model, but an earlier criticism of the heating controls being difficult to identify still exists.

Ahead of the driver the major instruments were easy to read, and the minor switchgear (rotary audio controls on the steering wheel) was easy to use and activate.

The clutch was light and easy to operate with nice take up characteristics. It combined well with a light-to-operate gearlever, and with the new engine not needing a bunch of revs to get it off the mark, it made SRi an easy vehicle to drive.

Forward vision is restricted by the thick A pillars when cornering, although the Astra’s not alone in this regard. Rearward vision was OK for parking manoeuvres.

Electronic Stability Program (ESC), ABS brakes and traction control are standard and, with six airbags, form a strong safety foundation for the SRi. Front seat belts are fitted with pretensioners and load limiters; all seats have lap sash belts. The AH Astra range scores a four star Euro NCAP safety rating (tests were carried out on a LHD vehicle so results may differ for Aust Astra’s).

Build quality finish

The SRi has remote central locking and deadlocking on all doors. It’s also fitted with an engine immobiliser. The NRMA Insurance security rating is 61/120, which is around average for class.

On the road

Suzuki AH 50

One pleasing aspect with the direct injection engine is its highway fuel figure. On test we recorded a figure of 7.2 litres per 100km. Around town it was up higher – we recorded a figure of 11.2 litres per 100km.

Overall the manual SRi returned 9.5 litres per 100km.

Performance

The 2.2 litre engine is the first in an Astra to have direct fuel injection. Injecting the fuel directly into the combustion chamber rather than through the inlet manifold or port allows the fuel charge to remain cooler, and gives the engineers the opportunity to use a higher engine compression ratio. All this high-tech wizardry results in better performance, with improvements in fuel consumption.

Developing 110kw from its 2.2 litres and 210Nm of torque, on paper at least, the Astra looks impressive.

Acceleration times were better across the board when compared to the last AH Astra Coupe tested (although it was an automatic).

We drove the new Astra in a mixture of conditions and the on-road experience was a little more lacklustre than expected. It feels as though the engine’s torque is down, needing you to use the six speed manual transmission to really stir things along for the best results.

Sitting on 45 series low profile tyres and with a slightly lowered ride height, the hatch has a purposeful look. Thankfully the ride quality hasn’t diminished as a result of these changes. On test the SRi’s ride certainly had a sporty edge.

At low speed it was noticeably firm, but once underway the whole package had a tight, taut feel – what you’d expect for a sports model.

Handling steering

The SRi has the sports suspension package and Electric/hydraulic rack and pinion steering. The whole chassis has a solid, accomplished feel to it – better than the last Astra tested in 2005. Through the windy bits the SRi never put a foot wrong, with steering that was pin point accurate with minimal body roll.

Brakes are four wheel discs. The fronts are ventilated and as previously mentioned have ABS with Brake Assist. Quiet, sharp and abrupt when cold, they soon worked satisfactorily once they’d been applied a few times.

Braking distance tests were carried out in wet conditions but the distances recorded were close to similar vehicles tested in the dry.

Smoothness quietness

The new engine has made the manual SRi Astra smoother, and easier to drive. The only criticism was tyre noise from the sports tyres on coarse chipped sections of road.

Suzuki AH 50
Suzuki AH 50
Suzuki AH 50


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