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Holden Astra 2006 review

The Astra CDTi, Holden's first diesel-powered passenger car in about 25 years, makes a loud racket and definitely announces its presence, especially when idling and at low speeds. You could be forgiven for thinking you were in a small truck.

But while it may seem a little overpowering at first, spend a week in this little baby and you'll no longer have the noise on your mind.

The 1.9-litre turbo diesel engine is one thrill of a ride, especially when pressing the "sport" button. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The six-speed manual version tested delivers 110kW at 4000rpm and 320Nm at 2000rpm to 2750rpm, rather impressive for this size of car. The $29,990 price-tag isn't too bad either.

While you experience a slight lag on take-off, it's hardly noticeable as the torque kicks in at low revs and boosts you through to your desired speed.

Sitting on the centre console, the sport button is just screaming to be pushed. And as one male passenger noted, it's in a great position for your co-pilot to activate, much to their enjoyment.

The button switches the car into sport mode and you instantly feel a boost on the throttle, the revs rising without having to pump the accelerator any harder. The steering also sharpens as the power steering steps up.

The manual model has a firmer sports tuned suspension, making the ride slightly jolty, but suited to the sportiness of the car.

So when you match the noise to that sudden burst of energy, it all seems to be at one; that growl is no longer a concern, instead a melodic tune. And after a while you come to enjoy the sound of the engine.

The cabin seems to be a little compromised with a rather basic interior. But it is adequate and what you could expect for the price-tag.

The storage space is very limited as there is nowhere to put wallets and mobile phones, only two very small spaces for coins or one bottle. There are also cup-holders in the doors, but it's the centre section that lacks the space and looks bare.

The dash appears rather plain and basic and seems to sit very straight. Airconditioning and cruise control are standard, although the latter required some reading of the instruction manual to put into action. It's not the simplest one to use.

While the environment is relatively comfortable, the seats are a tad too firm and your back tends to suffer on longer trips. Leg room in the back is impressive for the size.

And while our diesel experience was in a silver car, a shiny black one was a head-turner on a busy motorway and seems like a more stylish choice.

During the week, this Astra diesel averaged 6.2 litres per 100km, not far off the claimed 6.0 litres for the manual model. This included a lot of Sydney peak hour driving.

The Astra turbo diesel is also available with an automatic transmission and while this wasn't tested, it seems less impressive on paper at least.

While it also comes with the 1.9-litre engine, it has a single overhead camshaft as opposed to the double overhead camshaft in the manual.

This results in lower output figures, with 88kW at 3500rpm to 4000rpm and 280Nm at 2000rpm to 2750rpm.

It has a higher claimed fuel consumption of 7.4 litres per 100km and comes at an additional $1500.

So if you can't drive a manual, it may be time to upgrade your skills.

Unlike the petrol variant, the diesel comes standard with traction control and Electronic Stability Program for added safety. You'll also find six airbags, side impact protection, 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps.

The appearance of the new generation Astra is quite trendy. With its round backside and futuristic styling, the hatchback has all the character you could want in a small car. And don't worry, boys, the turbo diesel engine and the noise it emits ensures it's so much more than just an attractive car. Show off.


Impressive sporty engine, although a little loud, however the interior is fairly basic.

Pricing Guides

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Range and Specs

Convertible 2.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $2,999 – 9,999 2006 Holden Astra 2006 Convertible Pricing and Specs
CD 1.8L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $1,490 – 4,999 2006 Holden Astra 2006 CD Pricing and Specs
CD Equipe 1.8L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,600 – 5,990 2006 Holden Astra 2006 CD Equipe Pricing and Specs
CDTi 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $2,990 – 8,990 2006 Holden Astra 2006 CDTi Pricing and Specs