Holden covers all corners

Holden covers all corners

Designing a coupé-cabriolet isn’t easy. Fitting in a folding metal roof means most end up with a big rear end, and that is something that most of us would prefer not to deal with. But Holden appears to have got it spot-on with the Astra TwinTop.

Instead of the conventional two-sectioned roof, the TwinTop has a three-part roof design, a lot like Volvo’s C70. This permits a smaller bottom than most, as its three short roof panels take less boot space than two large ones. The result is a respectable 205 to 440 litres of space and a petite rear end.

Moving from any more references to rear ends, the state-of-the-art loading system “Easy Load” makes the trunk easily accessible: at the touch of a button, the horizontally stacked roof parts in the car trunk are raised automatically by around 25 centimetres. In contrast to other hard-top cabrios, luggage in the Astra TwinTop’s boot can be comfortably loaded and unloaded when the top is down.

Another highlight: the roof can be opened or closed while the car is in motion, up to a speed of 30 km/h. Every cabrio driver who has experienced a sudden downpour with the top down, or a quick-changing traffic light while opening or closing the roof, will appreciate this comfort feature. The electric roof takes 32 seconds to retract, which is a little on the slow side and certainly slower than the previous rag top.

Compared to other markets we get a highly spec’d model, like its predecessor, with very few options and only one choice of engine. Black leather, electric adjusted heated front seats, cruise control and air-con are just a start on the list of standard features.

Holden’s Astra TwinTop is powered by a responsive 2.2-litre direct injection engine. The four-cylinder engine produces 110kW @ 5,600 rpm and 210Nm @ 4,000 rpm.

It is the first Astra engine to offer variable high-pressure direct fuel injection, enhancing its efficiency compared with multi-point fuel injection systems, and is available with a standard six-speed manual or the option of a four-speed automatic transmission.

Inside, the rear passenger space in the TwinTop for two adults is not great – plenty of elbow room but the legroom is minimal. Rear headroom is just about adequate.

For added safety the front windscreen has a strengthened surround, there are active rear roll-over hoops, front and side airbags, and added engineering makes the body shell 30 percent torsionally stiffer than the previous Astra Convertible. An electronic stability handling program with traction control is also standard.

Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard with an option for 18s, and the all-important windbreak which reduces buffeting inside the car when the roof is down and front foglights are all part of the standard package.

The overall handling and road performance were good enough but not exceptional. Compared to other convertibles, though, the new TwinTop is an impressive driver’s machine – particularly when you consider that, with the hood in place, the additional bracing helps to virtually eliminate scuttle shake. And let’s face it, coupé-cabrios are supposed to be more about style than razor-sharp driving dynamics.

Price: $45,490-$47,490

Engine: 2.2-litre 4-cylinder petrol

Transmission: 6-speed manual , 4-speed automatic

For: Funky looks and strong body

Against: 4-speed auto, no back seat room

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