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Car reviews - Holden - Astra - City 5-dr hatch


9 May 2003

ALREADY five years-old when launched in Australia, the TR Astra arrived locally suddenly for two reasons. Firstly, Holden's relationship with Toyota dissolved, so supply of the unsuccessful Nova Corolla-clone was drying up and secondly, Holden struck up a deal with Opel in Germany that if it bought up X amount of TR Astras then its far, far-improved TS of late 1998 would be available under more favourable conditions. This inter-General Motors back-scratching ultimately worked wonderfully for Holden, which hit paydirt with the latter Astra, but the earlier TR model was received with mixed reviews and buyer indifference. It wasn't a patch on its successor either, with dull dynamics, a smallish cabin and a reputation for unreliability and suspect durability in its native United Kingdom - although the latter hasn't really come to fruition here as yet. Interestingly, the TR's 1984-1991 European Astra predecessor was never sold here by Holden during the 1980s (we instead got Nissan-sourced Pulsar-based LB-LD Astras from 1984-1989 as well as the unpopular 1985-1988 RB Gemini from Isuzu in Japan), but it did arrive a decade late as the first Daewoo sold here, the hot-selling 1994-1998 1.5i/Cielo, built in South Korea. So in 1998 Aussie buyers could buy all three GM Europe small-car generations new...

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 September 1996 to 1 June 2004

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