Holden Astra

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Holden Astra
2004-2007 Holden Astra (AH) CD 5-door hatchback (2011-11-17).jpg
Holden AH Astra CD 5-door Hatchback
Manufacturer Nissan (1984–1989)
Opel (1996–2009, from 2015)[1]
Production 1984–1989

The Holden Astra is a compact car marketed by Holden, the Australian subsidiary of General Motors (GM). Spanning six generations, the original, Australia-only Astra of 1984 was a derivative of the locally-produced Nissan Pulsar, as was the 1987 Astra. It was succeeded by the Holden Nova in 1989—another unique-to-Australia model line. From 1995, the Holden Astra name was used in New Zealand, for a badge engineered version of the Opel Astra, which had been sold locally as an Opel since 1993. The following year, Holden discontinued the Nova line in Australia in favour of the Opel-based Holden Astra. On May 1st 2014, Holden announced to import the Opel Astra J GTC and Opel Astra J OPC with Holden badges to Australia and New Zealand.[2][3]

First generation (LB, LC; 1984–1987)[edit]

First generation (LB, LC)
1984-1986 Holden LB Astra SLE hatchback 01.jpg
Also called Nissan Pulsar (N12)
Production 1984–1987
Body and chassis
Body style 5-door hatchback

The original Holden Astra, introduced in August 1984 as the LB series was a badge engineered Nissan Pulsar (N12). The Pulsar, a Japanese designed model, sold alongside the unique to Australia Astra line-up. The Pulsar for Australia was assembled in Clayton, Victoria; however, for the Astra the body panels were pressed at Holden's Elizabeth, South Australia facility. Unlike its Nissan counterpart, the Astra was only offered as a five-door hatchback, with the three-door hatchback and four-door sedan body styles omitted from the range due to fears they would overlap with Nissan's own Pulsar range. However, Holden's continuation of the Gemini sedan range was the nearest equivalent of this in the range.

1984–1986 Holden LB Astra SL/E

The only engine available was a Nissan-designed 1.5 litre engine, locally manufactured, this engine produced 52 kilowatts (70 hp) and 115 newton metres (85 ft·lbf) of torque. Transmission options were a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic.

Compared to the N12 Pulsar, the Astra LB sported a distinctive grille, the work of Australian stylist Paul Beranger housing the Holden lion insignia in the centre. Also unique were Astra-only tail lamps, badging and decals.

A revised LC model was released in April 1986.[4] Unleaded-fuel requirements uprated the engine displacement to 1.6 litres, power by 0.6 kilowatts (0.80 hp) and torque to 124 newton metres (91 ft·lbf). Model and trim changes were also a part of the update, including a new grille insert, and the addition of an SL model positioned below the SL/X and SL/E levels.[5]

The Used Car Safety Ratings, published in 2008 by Monash University, found that first generation Astras (LB/LC) provide a "significantly worse than average" level of occupant safety protection in the event of an accident.[6]

Specification levels[edit]

Two trim levels, the SL/X and the SL/E were offered in the LB Astra series, although a basic SL model arrived in 1986 with the LC upgrade.

  • SL: entry-level model available upon the LC's introduction.
  • SL/E: added alloy wheels among other features to the equipment list. However, the LC update saw the SL/E specification downgraded from alloy wheels to steel wheels with plastic wheel covers.

Second generation (LD; 1987–1989)[edit]

Second generation (LD)
1987-1989 Holden LD Astra SLX hatchback 04.jpg
Also called Nissan Pulsar (N13)
Production 1987–1989
Body and chassis
Body style 5-door hatchback
1987–1989 Holden LD Astra SLX hatchback.

For the second generation LD Astra, the Nissan Pulsar was again used as the basis, this time using the latest N13 series. Unlike before, the LD was the result of a proper joint venture development programme. That is, Nissan provided the bodywork and Holden supplied powertrains for fitment in both applications. Launched concurrently in July 1987, both the LD Astra and N13 Pulsar were offered in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles. Outside of Australia though, three-door hatchback and station wagon body variants of the Nissan were also available.

Both 1.6 (55 kilowatts (74 hp); 135 newton metres (100 ft·lbf)) and 1.8 litre (79 kilowatts (106 hp); 151 newton metres (111 ft·lbf)) displacements of Holden's Family II engine were offered in the Astra-Pulsar models. Badged as "1.6-" and "1.8 injection", respectively, the term injection denoted the utilisation of fuel injection. In July 1989, all associations with Nissan were severed and a new agreement between Toyota was formed. This relationship, known as the United Australian Automobile Industries (UAAI) was a continuation of the Austraian Government's Button Plan that started with Nissan. Nissan continued to use the Holden engines until 1991 before replacing their N13 Pulsar line with the N14, while at the same time entering a new model sharing alliance with Ford.

The Used Car Safety Ratings evaluation from 2008 found that LD series Astras provide a "worse than average" level of occupant protection in the event of an accident.[6]

Specification levels[edit]

Of the three trim specifications offered, the SLX and SLE nameplates no longer featured the "/" symbol, as in SL/X.[7] Besides this anomaly, the LD range mirrored that of the LC Astra:

  • SL: entry-level variant, available only as five-door hatchback, featuring the five-speed manual transmission and 1.6 litre engine combination. The brake setup for the LD series Astra in any specification was a disc/drum setup, whereas the equivalent Australian Pulsars had four-wheel disc brakes as standard.
  • SLX: was the second tier variant fitted with the 1.8 litre engine in coupled to either a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. The SLX also featured full plastic wheel trims, as opposed to the steel centre hubcap fitted to the SL.
  • SLE: was the highest luxury level on offer was the highest specification offered, available only as an automatic 1.8 litre. The SLE was equivalent to Pulsar's GXE specification.
  • HSV Astra SV1800: was a Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) tuned version of the LD Astra. Introduced in September 1988, most of the 65 or so examples employed the sedan body style. Upgrades from the standard Astra were limited to cosmetic and suspension changes, with both "Stage 1" and "Stage 2" suspension setups offered.[8]

Third generation (TR; 1995–1998)[edit]

Third generation (TR)
1996-1998 Holden TR Astra City 5-door hatchback 02.jpg
Also called Opel Astra
Opel Optima
Vauxhall Astra
Chevrolet Astra
Production 1995–1998
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door hatchback

In 1995, Holden began selling the Astra again in the New Zealand market as a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback. Imported from Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, England, this third-generation Astra model known as the TR series, was derived from the Opel Astra F in Germany; Opel being another General Motors subsidiary. However, this was merely a rebadging of the existing Opel model that was marketed in New Zealand since 1993 as the Opel Astra.

Holden in Australia did not recommence the selling of Astras until September 1996,[9] after the dissolution of Australian Government Button car plan. This resulted in the collapse of UAAI, the Holden-Toyota alliance, and as result Holden opted to return to marketing rebadged General Motors vehicles. Between 1989 and 1996, the Astra's role was fulfilled by the Nova, Holden's version of Toyota's Corolla (E90 and E100). During this period of badge engineering in Australia, General Motors New Zealand had used Opel as one of its main marques alongside Holden and Isuzu. Because the Button plan or local equivalent never existed in New Zealand, the two initial generations of Holden Astra (LB/LC and LD) were thus never available in that market.

Like the two previous generations, TR Astras were assessed in the 2008 Used Car Safety Ratings, and shown to provide an "average" level of protection.[6]

Specification levels[edit]

  • City: was the introductory model featuring a driver's airbag, central locking, and power steering. The engine and transmission combination consisted of a 1.6 litre engine (74 kilowatts (99 hp); 135 newton metres (100 ft·lbf)) with a five-speed manual.
  • GL: editions were fitted with front fog lamps, electric side mirrors and a tachometer over the City, and also featured a 1.8 litre engine (85 kilowatts (114 hp); 165 newton metres (122 ft·lbf)) with the option of either manual or automatic transmission.
  • GSi: was the sporty hatchback-only entrant, featuring dual airbags, alloy wheels, sports interior trim and suspension, along with a 2.0 litre engine (100 kilowatts (130 hp); 188 newton metres (139 ft·lbf)) coupled to a five-speed manual.

Fourth generation (TS; 1998–2005)[edit]

Fourth generation (TS)
2001-2004 Holden Astra (TS) CD 5-door hatchback (2011-08-17) 01.jpg
Also called Chevrolet Astra
Chevrolet Viva
Opel Astra
Vauxhall Astra
Production 1998–2005
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupé convertible
3-door coupé
4-door sedan
5-door hatchback
2001–2004 Holden Astra CD 5-door
2003–2004 Holden Astra SRi Turbo 3-door
2005–2006 Holden Astra convertible

In September 1998, the Astra was replaced again with a German Opel-engineered, Belgium-built version.[10] Known as the TS Astra, it was equipped with either a 90-kilowatt (120 hp) 1.8- or a 2.2-litre petrol engine and was offered in City, CD, CDXi, the SXi and SRi specifications. The SRi was three-door hatchback only, and the standard Astra was only available with a 1.8-litre litre 16-valve engine. The TS Astra was similar to the Chevrolet Astra of the South American market, although only the latter received the sharper facelift — the European and Australian versions retained the softer curves of the original body. Models with a 5-stud wheel pattern have the ABS option factory-installed.

The TS Astra model change followed that of the Opel Astra G range, including the sedan, hatchback and convertible. However, the Coupé by Bertone was not offered with a Holden badge. The drivetrain was identical to other cars in the Astra lineup, and as such, was not a bona-fide sports car. Like the Astra A, the Astra B was available as a wagon in New Zealand, but not Australia. In 2003, a 147-kilowatt (197 hp) 2.0-litre Turbo engine became available. The standard Astra was only available with a 1.8-litre 16-valve engine, and lived on until 2005 as the Holden Astra Classic, alongside the new model. The philosophy behind this was for Holden to remain competitive in the market until the cheaper Viva model was introduced.

In accordance to the Monash University's 2008 update to the Used Car Safety Ratings, TS Astra models were rated "better than average" in the field of crash safety protection.[6]

Specification levels[edit]

  • City was the most basic TS model, with a six-speaker audio system, dual airbags, disc brakes, 1.8-litre Z18XE1 85kw (1998-2001) and Z18XE 92kw - "drive by wire" (2001-2004) engine, adjustable headlamps, and triple information display (Radio info, date, time, temperature).
  • SXi was based on "City", but utilised the coupe body style, added front fog lamps and sports trim. Optional features included, a CD player, ABS brakes, alloy wheels, air conditioning, and a rear spoiler.
  • CD included "City" features, plus 15-inch alloy wheels, a CD player, ABS brakes, traction control, air conditioning, electronic mirrors, and power windows. Optional equipment available were: front fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, and a rear spoiler.
  • SRi: carried the same equipment as the "SXi", but was based on the "CD" variant. The SRI's acceleration rate is 9.0 seconds (0–100 km/h). This acceleration rate is said to be better than the SXI top acceleration rate as well as the CD model.
  • CDX added (over "CD"): cruise control, front fog lamps, climate control air conditioning, chrome trim around dials, side airbags (curtain airbags were also an option for MY04 models), heated leather seats and leather upholstery, and a larger, higher resolution MFD (multi-info display) with radio info, date, time, outside temperature, trip computer with instantaneous fuel consumption and litres per 100km/ per hr, distance to empty, crucial vehicle alerts (check control) and stopwatch.

Limited editions

  • Olympic Edition: Holden produced Olympic Editions of both the City and CD grades edition sold during 2000, included "Sydney 2000" Olympic badging.
  • Equipe was based on the Astra City, but added 15-inch alloy wheels and various combinations of extra features including cruise control, power windows, electric side-view mirrors, fog lamps and rear spoiler.

Fifth generation (AH; 2004–2009)[edit]

Fifth generation (AH)
2006-2007 Holden Astra (AH) CDX station wagon (2010-07-05).jpg
Also called Chevrolet Astra
Chevrolet Vectra
Opel Astra
Saturn Astra
Vauxhall Astra
Production 2004–2009
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupé convertible
3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
5-door station wagon
Wheelbase 2,614 mm (102.9 in) (5-door hatchback)
Length 4,249 mm (167.3 in) (5-door hatchback)
Width 1,753 mm (69.0 in) (5-door hatchback)
Height 1,460 mm (57 in) (5-door hatchback)

The fifth generation AH Astra, based on the Delta-platformed Opel Astra H came in November 2004[11] as a five-door hatchback only, manufactured in Belgium, selling alongside a now Polish-built Astra TS sedan and hatchback. The sedan and hatchback TS Astra models carried "Astra Classic" badges, but were finally dropped in late 2005, replaced by the Holden Viva, a rebadged Daewoo Lacetti. Between 2003 and 2004, the Lacetti was marketed in Australia as a Daewoo before Holden withdrew the brand from Australia due to unsustainable sales.

Like the previous generation, the AH series was found to provides a "better than average" level of safety according to the 2008 Used Car Safety Ratings.[6] At launch, AH Astras came with front- and side-impact airbags as standard inclusions, allowing the Astra to receive a four-star ANCAP crash safety rating. Higher-specified models were able to achieve the full five-stars due to the addition of standard safety equipment.

Holden suspended importation of the Astra on 20 April 2009, citing currency fluctuations and commodity price issues.[12] Holden's import cessation, which resulted in no Astras arriving during June and July 2009, coincided with the introduction of the Holden Cruze, reported to be the direct replacement for the Holden Viva.[13] On 31 August 2009, Holden confirmed that the cessation of Astra imports will remain of a permanent basis, with no intention of further imports of either the then current AH series or the next generation car. Holden stated their small car efforts would be focused on the Cruze.[14]

Model year changes[edit]

  • MY05: the AH range expanded in August 2005 with the release of the Astra station wagon.
  • MY06.5: revisions from June 2006 added head-protecting side curtain airbags as standard equipment for the CDX. Also released was the turbodiesel hatchback, badged CDTi. Two versions of the diesel were offered: a 1.9 litre version with 110 kilowatts (150 hp) teamed with a six-speed manual transmission, and a six-speed automatic model with an 88-kilowatt (118 hp) version of the same engine. This was a first for the Astra in Australia, but not New Zealand where the Astra TS had previously been offered with a 1.7 litre turbodiesel.
  • MY07: models appeared in January 2007, coinciding with the release of the Astra SRi and Twin Top convertible. Both releases came with a 2.2 litre petrol engine producing 110 kilowatts (150 hp), available with the six-speed manual or four-speed automatic.
  • MY07.5: in April 2007 the Astra line-up received a facelift including tweaked front grille, lights on all models, new 16 inch alloy design for CDX and CDTi models, and black tinted headlamps for sport variants. The 1.8 litre petrol engine also benefited from a power upgrade from 90 kilowatts (120 hp) to 103 kilowatts (138 hp)—an increase of 11 percent. The 2.2 litre engines available in the SRi, and Twin Top remained the same, as did the 2.0L turbo in the Astra SRi Turbo
  • MY08: changes from October 2007 saw the deletion of the five-door SRi, leaving only the SRi coupé, and the Twin Top with the 2.2 litre engine.
  • MY08.5: minor, non-cosmetic update from May 2008 onwards. MY08.5 Astras received electronic stability control (ESC) as standard fitment across the entire lineup. ESC was previously limited to SRi and CDTi variants. This series also marked the return of the five-door SRi, although it was now standard with the 1.8 as opposed to the 2.2 litre petrol engine previously fitted. This engine change also affected the coupé SRi variant, but not the Twin Top. The Astra wagon range was also expanded to include the diesel engine option available already on the hatchback. Although only offered with an automatic transmission, the diesel CDTi wagon marked the return of the Astra wagon to the New Zealand market after its discontinuation after the TS series.
  • MY09: The CD and CDX hatchback and station wagon variants reverted to the black bezel projector-style headlamps.

Specification levels[edit]

  • CD: was the base model.
  • CDX: added 16 inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a trip computer and six-stack CD player. Equipped with leather seats from MY08 onward.
  • CDXi: versions added eight-way power-adjustable front seats, climate control air conditioning and curtain airbags. Discontinued after MY06.
  • CDTi: diesel-powered version of the CDX.
  • SRi: was the sport model of the AH series Astra, equipped with leather seats, climate control and 17 inch alloy wheels.
  • SRi Turbo: was the turbocharged version of the above.

Special editions

2004–2007 Holden Astra CD 5-door hatchback
2008 Holden Astra 60th Anniversary hatchback
2008 Holden AH Astra 60th Anniversary station wagon
  • 60th Anniversary: editions were introduced to commemorate the 60th anniversary since the first Holden, the 48-215. 60th Anniversary models included 15 inch alloy wheels, steering wheel radio controls and ESC.
  • CD Equipe: These models gained the 15 inch alloy wheels, cruise control and rear power windows at no extra cost during 2006 and 2007.

HSV VXR[edit]


The Opel Astra OPC (even though its donning Vauxhall's V-grille and VXR badge) was marketed in Australia as the HSV VXR by Holden Special Vehicles from 2006 to 2009.

Sixth generation (from 2015)[edit]

Sixth generation
Opel Astra GTC 1.6 Turbo Innovation (J) – Frontansicht, 17. September 2012, Düsseldorf.jpg
Also called Opel Astra
Vauxhall Astra
Production from 2015
Assembly Gliwice, Poland
Body and chassis
Body style 3-door hatchback
Platform Delta II platform
Related Buick Verano
Cadillac ELR
Holden Cruze
Holden Volt
Holden Cascada
Opel Zafira Tourer
Wheelbase 2,675 mm (105.3 in)
Length 4,466 mm (175.8 in)
Width 2,020 mm (79.5 in)
Height 1,482 mm (58.3 in)
Rear view

The Sixth generation Astra is based on the General Motors' Delta II platform and will go on sale in the first half of 2015.


2015 Holden Astra VXR

The Astra VXR will feature a turbocharged 2.0 L direct injection engine with a power of 206 kW (280 PS; 276 hp) and torque of 400 N·m (300 lb·ft).


  1. ^ http://gmauthority.com/blog/2014/05/opel-returns-to-australian-market-this-time-badged-as-a-holden/
  2. ^ http://media.opel.com/media/intl/en/opel/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/intl/en/2014/opel/05-01-holden-australia.html
  3. ^ http://www.carscoops.com/2014/05/holden-to-bring-astra-vxr-cascada-and.html
  4. ^ "Holden Astra LC Astra 1986-1987". Goauto.com.au. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  5. ^ The Red Book Identification Manual, May 1987, page 65
  6. ^ a b c d e "Used Car Safety Ratings 2008" (PDF). Monash University. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  7. ^ Bebbington (1998), p. 151. "SLX and SLE nameplates no longer featured the '/' symbol (as in SL/E)."
  8. ^ Bebbington (1998), p. 151. "Late in 1988, HSV offered the SV1800 [...] which featured suspension and body enhancements. Available in stages 1 or 2, these were some of HSV's few four-cylinder variants."
  9. ^ "Holden Astra TR Astra 1996-1998". Goauto.com.au. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  10. ^ "Holden Astra TS Astra 1998-2004". Goauto.com.au. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  11. ^ "Holden Astra AH Astra 2004-2007". Goauto.com.au. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  12. ^ "Holden suspends Astra imports". Australian Car Advice. 2009-04-24. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  13. ^ Blackburn, Richard (2009-04-20). "Holden to ditch Astra?". Drive. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  14. ^ Pettendy, Marton (2009-08-31). "European Astra skips Australia". GoAuto. John Mellor. Retrieved 2009-08-31.