Twenty years ago I bought my first wheels to freedom in the way of a bright metallic green Astra, and I called her Bertha! I loved that car! We went everywhere and anywhere, had amazing adventures and I have nothing but fond memories of driving her!!
So believe me I was very excited to be 20 years later stepping back behind the wheel of the new Astra and putting my baby girl in there for a spin! She had to listen to hours of me regaling stories of my teenage years in Bertha and she was not impressed!!
So, was the modern Holden Astra LTZ Sedan up to the job of being a BabyDrive or did it let me down and ruin the memories of Bertha? Let's find out…
Well the new Astra feels like a practical amount of car for the money!
The Holden Astra is a non-offensive car that actually wouldn’t be too bad as a BabyDrive, especially for the price! Some things about it do feel cheap; like the seat adjustment levers and the basic boot and some surfaces etc. But what can you expect for that price?! It is essentially a car that is going to get trashed as the years go on and the kids grow up so if you don’t want a car you are going to be too precious about then this might be a good option!
I was very pleasantly surprised by the boot space. It will hold 12 bags when it’s empty which is a respectable amount for a sedan. With the double stroller, I could fit three bags beside it but the boot is very deep and you could easily fit another four bags on top of the stroller! With our Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle stroller you could fit four bags as well and with our Steelecraft Holiday2 umbrella stroller, I could fit eight shopping bags. The wheel arches prevented the stroller going against the seat backs and so it had to go at the front of the boot but other than that it was good boot space for a BabyDrive.
Legroom and space in the cab were pretty good. You could just fit a 6ft passenger in front of a rear-facing child seat but their knees were a little squeezed in. Getting in and out of the car, the roofline of the door opening is low and heads got cracked on them a few times in our weeks driving. Something that might get tiresome over a longer period!
The Astra was a very vocal car and I couldn’t turn most of the sounds off… I want a MUTE switch!!
It felt like it had a different chime for everything and they were very persistent!
Two rear facing child seats fit along the back row but I could not fit a third child seat in the middle. The top tether anchor points are conveniently located on the fixed parcel shelf, so you don’t have to go into the boot to connect them. The downside of this is you can’t carry a dog in the boot because the parcel shelf is not removable.
The ISO Fix anchor points are behind leather flaps in the seat, which make it tricky to connect the clips and over time the leather will sag and look tired and worn.
The Astra Sedan has four cars in the range; we tested the LTZ, which is the top spec model. It wasn’t as basic and uncomfortable as I had expected, the seats were not particularly uncomfortable they just lacked support. The adjustment handles felt cheap and flimsy and the handle for adjusting the backrest was really difficult to use as it was really hidden behind where the seatbelt connects to the car so it was impossible to use it at all whilst driving.
The visibility is good in the Astra, I could easily judge the edges of the vehicle and with two child seats installed in the back I found the mirrors and reversing camera really great for manoeuvring and parking. It was good to drive around town and out on the open road. Nothing stood out as disturbing for little passengers, the road and engine noise was good and it drove well on bumpy surfaces at slow speed too.
The Holden Astra scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating, even though it does not have AEB Autonomous Emergency Braking, which is when the car brakes to avoid an obstacle ahead if you haven’t responded in time and braked yourself.
The Astra Sedan has a five-star ANCAP safety rating even though it does not have AEB Autonomous Emergency Braking. AEB applies the brakes for you if the cars sensors are alerted to an obstacle coming up that you have not braked for. It can help to avoid or lessen the severity of a collision.
All models have six airbags as standard. Dual frontal, side chest airbags in the front and side head-protecting curtain airbags for the second row side passengers as well.
All models have ABS brakes (Antilock braking system), Electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), Electronic stability control (ESC), Emergency brake assist (EBA) and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS).
The top spec models come with lane departure warning and blind spot warnings in the side mirrors.
Some of these safety features are also features that drive me crazy as a mum! Like the lane departure and forward collision alert or the parking sensor beeping sound.
I want all the safety technology AND to be able to mute the sound when Tulsi’s asleep!