There's little doubt that Holden is up against it, with the disastrous demise of its locally manufactured Commodore products looming large on the horizon.

And, as Ford has already found out, the problem the company faces isn't just  the practical matter of replacing  its  product line-up, but the equally important, and far slipperier, battle over public perception. People think that because the Commodore is going away, the whole company is disappearing with it, and it's very hard to sell cars if people think you're dead in the water. (The people selling America as a tourist destination could sympathise; just because they've elected Trump doesn't mean the whole country is actually a giant turd.)

This is obviously not the case, but Holden does have a battle on its hands to convince non-car-obsessed people that it's still a viable alternative to the sea of rivals the Australian car market is awash with.

The German-built Astra is one of the central planks of that strategy, and the company has worked hard to make a product that appeals to the hearts and heads of a new generation of Holden owners. Even the non-car-focused punter knows that German equals good, of course.

Has Holden succeeded? We're testing the mid-range, slightly sporty Astra RS this week.