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Holden Astra 2019 review: RS-V

Nedahl Stelio
Family reviewer

8 May 2019 • 10 min read

Small hatches can be good family cars if you’ve got a young family. You might not want an SUV yet (large, cumbersome and more expensive) or you might be looking at a small car as a second runaround that you can zip around in and park easily.

The Holden Astra hatch is a five seater that’s in competition with the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. Both the Ford and the Mazda have had major makeovers this year, so how does the Holden compare?

I was in the Astra RS-V which is the top of the range and costs $28,990 before on-road costs and any extras. Here’s how it did over a week of driving with my family.  

How spacious is it?

As soon as anyone says small car, that’s what you picture, but this category is not as little as its name implies.

In the front there is enough leg and head space for me and my taller husband, even with the sunroof. You’re not swimming with room and it’s not as spacious as an SUV, but nobody is uncomfortable.

Despite the sunroof, there's still plenty of headroom up front. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Despite the sunroof, there's still plenty of headroom up front. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

If you are fitting a baby capsule in the back, the front passenger will have to compromise on leg space and move their seat forward, but there is more room than in a Mazda3.

My two children aged five and seven fit easily in the back seat, and I could fit back there with lots of room to spare, being 161cm. If you are taller and you’re sitting behind a taller front passenger you may have to turn knees slightly sideways but it’s still a comfortable drive.

The boot is a decent size for this category at 360 litres which means it passes the CarsGuide pram test.

With the rear seats up boot space is rated at 360 litres. (image credit: Dean McCartney) With the rear seats up boot space is rated at 360 litres. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

You’ll be able to pop some groceries or school bags around the pram, too. If you are about to have a baby and are buying a pram we recommend you test the pram in the boot first to make sure it fits as they’re all different sizes.

How does it look?

The exterior looks good - sleek and sporty, particularly in the black, it hasn’t had a big revamp like the Focus or Mazda3 but still looks modern.

There’s a tapered nose and a back that slopes down at a long angle. It’s not as sophisticated as the Mazda3 but there is a fun, go-anywhere vibe to it.

The exterior looks good - sleek and sporty, particularly in the black. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The exterior looks good - sleek and sporty, particularly in the black. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

Inside boasts a clean design with some high-gloss finishes along the centre console and a lovely chrome finish around the gearshift, it really lifts the styling and gives a premium feel from the otherwise plastic trims along the dash and the doors.

This model was also fitted with a sunroof, as a part of the Touring pack which costs an extra $1990.

The leather steering wheel feels good, but the leather appointed seats are not the highest quality and you can tell. Still, the overall feeling is good - not luxe, but good enough.

Inside boasts a clean design with some high-gloss finishes along the centre console and a lovely chrome finish around the gearshift. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Inside boasts a clean design with some high-gloss finishes along the centre console and a lovely chrome finish around the gearshift. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

How does it drive?

There’s a 1.6-litre turbo engine which moves quickly around town and gets up hills easily enough.

It’s not hugely powerful but in a small car it’s fine when you’re driving around suburbia/doing the school run/ driving to work. It’s also good to coast along highways and you can overtake cars when you need to.

The 1.6-litre turbo makes 147kW/300Nm. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The 1.6-litre turbo makes 147kW/300Nm. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The Astra hatch handles nicely, hugs corners well and the steering feels good. Parking is easy because of the size but the reverse parking camera is not very high definition when you compare it to a Mazda3. You can still see what’s behind you but it’s grainy.

How easy is it to use every day?

There are two cupholders in the front, a spot that’s specially made to neatly fit your phone on the centre console, which is super handy, a small centre storage bin and bottle holders in each door.

Rear passengers however miss out on a centre armrest, cupholders and their own air vents.

There's no air vents for rear passengers, but children fit easily in the back seats. (image credit: Dean McCartney) There's no air vents for rear passengers, but children fit easily in the back seats. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The boot is a good height off the ground and easy to open and close, that is, not heavy. If you do have a baby it can get tiresome constantly bending down to put the capsule in or to do seatbelts up, but how much you’re willing to take of that depends on how much you personally don’t like it.

While there’s not much in the way of automation eg. the driver’s seat is manually adjusted, everything works quite easily and it’s not a stress at all to figure things out.

How safe is it?

A good amount of advanced safety equipment comes standard with the Astra RS-V, including auto emergency braking at low speeds, a side blind-zone alert, a forward collision alert with head-up warning and lane keep assist.

This car was also fitted with the Touring pack which costs $1990 and includes the sunroof and adaptive cruise control.

You’ll get six airbags, plus two ISOFIX points and three top tether points for kids’ car seats.

What’s the tech like?

It comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, which means you can plug your phone into the one USB point in the centre storage bin, and be instantly connected to the main apps on your phone.

The 7.0-inch multimedia system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (image credit: Dean McCartney) The 7.0-inch multimedia system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

I used maps to navigate and Spotify to listen to music. The sound on the speakers is pretty good, too.

How much does it cost to own?

The Holden Astra Hatch RS-V costs $28,990 drive-away. This car was also fitted with the Touring pack which includes the sunroof and adaptive cruise control for $1990, and premium paint is an extra $550, making it $31,530 on this particular car.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 5.8L/100km which is good for this category.

Holden offers a five year/unlimited km warranty which is becoming the standard to reach now for car companies.


The Wrap

If you’re after a small car for the family, whether as a main car or a second runaround, the Holden Astra hatch is not a bad option. It looks good from the outside, has just enough space on the interior for a young family and it drives really well.

I gave it a family rating of seven out of 10, my kids also gave it a seven, they do prefer cars that are a bit higher than normal. 

Would you buy a small car for your family? Tell us in the comments below. 

Likes

Exterior design
Advanced Safety
Tech

Dislikes

Loud collision warning and beeps

Scores

Nedahl:

3.5

The Kids:

3.5

$31,740

Based on new car retail price

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