I've reported a couple of times over the past few months on Holden's impending release of it's new European sourced model line up, signaling the end of Aussie made Holden's. Well if you so choose, the day has come when you can now go out and buy one of Holden's new breed. Let me refresh your mind on whats to come.
They're made in Europe don't you know
The Holden Astra, GTC, VXR and Cascada convertible mark the beginning of a product offensive by Holden, possibly in a bid to quell any sadness brought about by the passing of Australian car manufacturing, they plan on releasing 24 new vehicles in the next 5 years. These cars mark the tip of an iceberg for Holden, an iceberg that they are keen to point out is very European. Made in Germany along with their Opal and Vauxhall cousins Holden say that European made stands for high quality and refinement, there's even a mention that the VXR variant was honed at, and I quote, "the iconic mecca for all driving enthusiasts; the Nurburgring Nordschliefe track". I think it's clear that Holden want the public to be aware that their new cars will move the company upmarket.
Go posh or go home
Sticking to that premium image the new Astra's are being offered initially in only their poshest of guises, that means 3 door coupe body styles and in the case of the VXR ballistic performance levels. This is a brave move but one that will hopefully pay off, as when people get a glimpse of the handsome 3 door Astra, which nails that swish European look the company are hankering after, the 5 doors, wagons and sedans that appear later in the year hopefully won't look as ordinary as they would should all the cars be released in one go.
The GTC and VXR
Being top of the range, spec sheets for the Astra's are impressive. The GTC offers trick HiPerStrut front suspension for vastly improved road holding, plush sports seats, a 7 inch screen with MyLink so you can easily link your phone to the car and sat nav all within that high quality European cabin. You also get rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, start stop on the manual, and a DAB digital radio to name a few other toys. Go for a GTC Sport and you get 19 inch wheels, leather seats and a suitably sporty body kit. Astra VXR's take it a stage further, the GTC's 1.6 litre turbo motor is replaced with a 2 litre turbo unit good for 206kw of oomph and the outside is treated to an even more aggressive body kit. There's also the choice of 3 driving modes in the VXR to cater for whatever mood you might be in. Prices for the 6 speed manual GTC start at $26,990 rising to $29,990 for a GTC Sport. There's a 3k premium if you want an automatic. If its a VXR you want you'll have to fork out $39,990.
This car marks Holden's return to the convertible sector and it is an all together more sedate affair than it's sporty Astra siblings. Looking every bit the European drop top Holden were aiming for the Cascada comes with only the 1.6 litre engine option and the 6 speed automatic gearbox, no bad thing as this cars all about the cruising anyway. Holden have also announced 50 special edition Cascada's to mark the firms return to soft top motoring. Priced at $44,990, 3k more than the normal Cascada the Launch Edition features Nappa leather seats, 20 inch alloys and adaptive bi-xenon headlights with daytime running lights.
Embrace the imports
From reading my blog you might have guessed that I've been trying to drive home the idea that you can't beat a car with a splash of European fineness for the past 6 months. And Holden's shift towards a European line up has made me one very happy motoring blogger. I hope in the coming months I'll be able to test out some of Holden's new breed on Australian roads, but in the meantime if you want to buy one just pop into your local Holden dealer from the 4th May 2015.