Holden's import bargains

Holden insignia VXR

You have to feel for people who bought an Opel in Australia only for General Motors (GM) to ruthlessly pull the brand from sale and watch – from afar – resale values sink like a lead balloon. 

The cars in question, the Astra and Insignia VXR - if we forget the entertaining but short-lived Corsa for a moment - were re-introduced as Holdens before recently being killed off once again, but sales weren't exactly stirring.

Bad news for Holden, but for car enthusiasts it at least results in good European-built performance cars going out with dirt-cheap pricetags.

Holden Astra VXR
Take the Astra VXR, Holden’s best hot-hatchback in years. With 206kW at 5300rpm and 400Nm at 2400rpm, MOTOR has clocked a 6.58sec 0-100km/h for this 2.0-litre turbo, six-speed manual three-door complete with LSD, Recaros and Brembos.

A competitive $39,990 plus on-road costs new, scanning the classifieds in the Holden-Euro-fire sale revealed 2015 brand new examples priced between $28,995 and $31,490. It gets even better for a 2016 example with just 3000km on the clock, advertised for an astonishing $25,490 – or base Hyundai i30 and Toyota Corolla money – and in as-new condition.

Great buy now; not so for those few buyers who paid closer to retail prices.

Holden Insignia VXR
The Insignia VXR, meanwhile, follows a long line of Holden medium-sized nameplates – Torana, Camira, Apollo, Vectra, Epica, Malibu, all inside three decades – and perishes this year, given the next Insignia will be rebadged Commodore for our market.

With 239kW at 5950rpm and 435Nm at 5250rpm, the 2.8-litre turbo V6 sedan was overpriced when new at $51,990. But there was a rough diamond in this laggy then boosty, cramped but willing Opel; more of a WRX in European clothes than a cut-price Audi S4.

Now, at almost half the price, the Insignia VXR is more impressive. We saw a 2015 example for $31,990 with 7000km on the clock, or a 2016 for $36,890 with 2300km. Want a brand new example? Holden dealerships are flogging leftover stock for $39,990 driveaway.

Holden Insignia VXR interior
Holden is attempting to reform itself towards October 20 when its local manufacturing facilities close and it becomes a full-line importer for the first time. The new Astra is a great car and the next Commodore looks promising in all-wheel drive V6 format.

For now, though, there are some great performance bargains to be had.

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